North Ogden woman pleads guilty to embezzling more than $843K from employer

SALT LAKE CITY , Dec. 18, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — A 35-year-old North Ogden woman has pleaded guilty to embezzling $843,673 in a scheme that involved use of her employer’s credit card account.

Hailey Keele pleaded guilty in a federal court last week to one count of mail fraud and one count of tax evasion.

Keele admitted that between July of 2006 and November of 2014, she prepared checks from her employer’s bank account to be signed by the company’s business manager, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Utah District.

The business manager was told the checks were to pay the company’s American Express account. Keele did not tell her employer that she already had used her online-account access to set up automatic payment to the American Express account.

The name of her employer was not given.

Keele reportedly admitted she used the funds to pay for personal expenses, to cover cash advances, and to get credit-balance refund checks from American Express. One credit-refund check she received, in August 2012, was for $36,681.15.

Keele also did not pay taxes on the unreported income.

Keele’s sentencing is set for Feb. 21 of 2018. She faces as many as 20 years in jail on the fraud charge, and as much as five years on the tax evasion charge.

She also agreed to forfeit all property acquired or traceable to her criminal conduct.


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