Woman Who Stole $800K From Trucking Company Sentenced to Prison
Hammond, IN – An Indiana woman who was convicted last year of scheming her way to more than $800,000 in funds from a trucking company has been sentenced to almost 5 years in prison.
Lucy Owens, 42, of Hobart, IN, was convicted on 7 counts of wire fraud after 5-day jury trial that took place in May 2018.
Owens and her attorney, Claudia Traficante, were unable to convince U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen and a federal prison psychiatrist she was mentally incompetent to be tried for theft.
Owens and Traficante argued that instead of being sentenced to prison, she should be given probation and treatment for “personality disorders.”
However, according to an announcement by Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch II, Owens received a sentence of 57 months in prison, 1 year of supervised release and was ordered to pay $820,483.66 in restitution with $324,438.50 of that amount to be owed jointly and severally with co-defendant Kirk Stroh.
According to records in the case, between 2010 and 2015, Owens diverted over $800,000 from her employer, Hammond-based Djuric Trucking, through two schemes to defraud.
In one scheme, Owens used her position as the company’s accounts payable clerk to fraudulently pay over $460,000 in personal credit card bills from the company’s bank account.
In the second scheme, Owens used her position as the administrator of the company’s diesel fuel card program to help two individuals obtain over $330,000 in unauthorized cash advances at truck stops.
One of the individuals, Kirk Stroh, also from Hobart, IN, was a truck driver for a rival trucking company.
Owens helped Stroh obtain over $290,000 in fraudulent cash advances at a truck stop in Lake Station, IN, in increments of $800 per day.
Stroh, a co-defendant in the case, who previously pled guilty, split the proceeds with Owens.
In addition to paying her personal credit card debt funds stolen from her employer, Owens used her portion of the stolen funds to pay for frequent family vacations, dining, clothing, jewelry, home improvements, and other items.
James Djuric of Djuric Trucking said in a victim impact statement, which was read by a family member, that Owens nearly “ruined him financially.”
“The great work of the Hammond Police Department has brought this case to a successful conclusion with an order of restitution and significant prison time,” said Kirsch.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office and law enforcement partners will continue to hold people accountable for their actions when they choose to take advantage of others,” Kirsch continued.