Bookkeeper charged with stealing $1.8 million from small business
Indianapolis – United States Attorney Josh Minkler today announced that Julie Ann Ashman, 43, of Fairland, Indiana, has been charged federally in connection with a long-running scheme to defraud a small business where she served as bookkeeper. Ashman allegedly embezzled a total of over $1.8 million. Ashman has agreed to plead guilty to federal charges of wire fraud and tax evasion.
“We count on the people we work with to be honest, especially people who occupy positions of trust,” said Minkler. “Exploiting that trust for purely personal gain can devastate an organization, especially a small business. Those who choose to commit fraud will be caught, prosecuted, and held accountable.”
Ashman served for years as bookkeeper of a southern Indiana small business specializing in repairing and refurbishing X-ray medical equipment, according to court documents. She was responsible for recording all deposits and payments in the company’s ledger, which she provided annually to the company’s accountant. She also had access to the company’s checkbook.
For over four and a half years, Ashman allegedly used her position and access to secretly siphon company funds to her own bank account. Ashman cut checks to herself for between $3,000 and $5,000 up to 15 times per month. To conceal the missing funds, she intentionally understated the company’s revenue on its ledgers, leaving the company’s owners and its accountant to believe the company was barely profitable. She also falsified the checks’ memo lines to make them appear to be for legitimate business expenses. In total, Ashman allegedly cut 436 company checks to herself for a total of $1,805,015.12.
Additionally, Ashman allegedly failed to report to the IRS or pay taxes on the money she stole. She omitted from the company’s books any reference to the payments to herself, which prevented the company from issuing her a W-2 or 1099. Further, none of her tax returns made any reference to the hundreds of thousands of dollars she spent on herself each year. In total, Ashman evaded paying taxes of $463,078.00.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service.
Assistant United States Attorney Nick Linder, who is prosecuting the case for the government, said that Ashman has agreed to plead guilty to charges of wire fraud and tax evasion. She faces up to 20 years in prison on the fraud charge and up to 5 years in prison on the tax evasion charge.
Charges are not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven otherwise in federal court.