July 26, 2019
By Dominic J Bartolone
Contributing Editor, Fraud Friday
Fraud Friday – Former Controller Gets 2 Years in Jail for Stealing $1.2 Million that Bankrupted Company
Jeanette Elizabeth Ford was convicted of wire fraud on May 14, 2018, after pleading guilty to embezzlement.
“Ford abused her position of trust and embezzled a startling amount of money from her employer,” says the U.S. Attorney “Over 15 months, Ford managed to steal and spend over $1.2 million — on expensive vacations, the renovation, and furnishing of a mountain home, and personal items for herself and her family. Now Ford is going to federal prison and has been ordered to pay restitution to the victims.”
According to the FBI, Ford abused her position within the company to fuel her personal greed, which not only hurt the company but financially damaged her coworkers after the company went bankrupt in 2017.
Between 2015 and 2016, Ford was employed as an operations controller in the accounting and finance department at Classic Party Rentals, which, at the time, was one of the nation’s largest event rental companies. The company had its headquarters in Inglewood, California, but Ford worked remotely from Blue Ridge, Georgia.
As part of her responsibilities, Ford was in charge of reconciling and recording employees’ corporate credit card transactions for CPR’s accounting records. Ford used her position to circumvent company controls and spent over $1.27 million in unauthorized credit card transactions. Prosecutors say she was spending the money on herself and her family with a corporate credit card that she had issued in her name. Using her position, she was able to hide the charges from her coworkers and management.
Ford manipulated transaction reports from MasterCard, deleting unauthorized transactions from the report, and then presenting the false statements to management. She also manipulated the internal accounting system to enter false entries that balanced out the accounts.
At the end of the month, the bank reconciliations were performed, showing that the cash transactions were recorded by crediting cash and debiting the credit card liability. Ford used her access to manipulate the data to log fraudulent journal entries. She used the entries to change the balance of the credit card liability so that she could reconcile the credit card files she altered.
Jeanette 46, was sentenced to two years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. She was also ordered to pay $1,2 million in restitution.