Woman Sentenced to Prison For Cheating Small Trucking Company in $725K Fraud Scheme
St. Louis, MO – A Missouri woman was recently sentenced to 80 months in prison after admitting she cheated a small trucking company as part of a more than $725,000 fraud scheme.
Last year, Christen Diane Schulte, 35, of Washington, MO, pleaded guilty to wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering charges related to a scheme to defraud Maczuk Farms Trucking (MFT) and Maczuk Farms in New Haven, MO, along with several individuals associated with MFT, the Berger Levee District of Franklin County, and several financial institutions.
According to court documents, Schulte, a former bookkeeper and office manager for MFT, admitted that between January 2018 and February 2020 she knowingly and intentionally devised and executed a scheme to defraud her former employer and others out of approximately $727,000.
As part of her scheme, Schulte fraudulently and without permission used the companies’ credit cards for personal expenditures.
Schulte also fraudulently caused American Express and FirstBank to issue her new credit cards in the names of the companies.
Court records show she fraudulently charged more than 1,800 transactions totaling more than $532,000 on these credit cards.
Further, Schulte also forged the signatures of the owner and several employees of MFT on checks from several different bank accounts, including personal accounts of the employees.
Several of these checks were made payable to Schulte, but some of them she made payable to the companies in order to conceal the lost funds related to her credit card scheme, court documents indicate.
However, her scheme didn’t end there.
Other forged checks were drawn from a bank account held by the Berger Levee District of Franklin County, which is a tax-payer funded levee district that is responsible for creating flood control projects in Franklin County, MO.
Schulte also forged the treasurer’s signature of the Berger Levee District (who was an owner of MFT) on six checks totaling more than $113,000.
In order to conceal the lost funds related to her credit card scheme, Schulte admitted she made the checks payable to MFT.
Prosecutors said she used the fraudulently obtained funds to purchase jewelry, a travel trailer, vehicles, and vacation travel.
Schulte was also ordered to pay more than $517,140 in restitution to MFT and serve five years of supervised release following her sentence.