Melody Huie Sentenced for Tax Evasion and Wire Fraud after Embezzling $1.37 Million from Employer
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 17, 2013|
Melody Huie, age 56, of Mandeville, Louisiana, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt to 18 months in prison after previously pleading guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion, announced United States Attorney Dana J. Boente. Huie was also ordered to pay full restitution, plus $446,983. to the IRS. Huie was further sentenced to three years of supervised release after she is released from jail, the first six months of which are to be spent on home confinement.
According to court documents, Huie was employed by a transportation company in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she served as a general manager for Accounting. In that capacity, Huie was responsible for overseeing the company’s finances and accounts. Huie was one of three individuals at the company who was authorized to conduct wire transfers from the company’s bank accounts. Wire transfers from the company’s Chase bank account had to be authorized by two of the three employees with such authorization. As part of its security protocol, after one of the three authorized individuals initiated a transfer, Chase called one of the other employees to verify the legitimacy of the transfer.
When Huie wanted to steal money from her employer, she would make a phone call to Chase’s customer service department and direct them to transfer money to a separate bank account under her control. When initiating a wire transfer by phone (whether legitimate or not), Huie had to identify herself, specify the account from which she wished to draw the money, and provide a password created by Chase. When Chase called to verify one of Huie’S transfers, Huie answered the other phone and fraudulently identified herself as the second individual authorized to conduct wire transfers. Huie knew where this individual stored his/her password and security information, which Huie provided to the Chase representative to verify the unauthorized wire transfer. To disguise her actions further, Huie added fictitious reference notes such as “Fund Redemption,” “401K Distribution,” or “Consulting Fee” to the transfer or used variations of the nameholder on the account to which she sent the money to make the transfers appear legitimate.
Huie stole money in this manner at least 114 times between November 2006 and September 2011, totaling $1,370,814.09.
Huie then failed to report as taxable income the money she stole on her tax returns. As a result, she failed to pay income tax between tax years 2006 and 2011 in the amount of approximately $446,983.00.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations Division. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jordan Ginsberg.