Former Lake Forest Park Water Clerk Sentenced to More Than Two Years in Prison for Embezzling Nearly $350,000
Falsified Documents to Unlawfully Obtain Payments for Personal Items
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 04, 2014|
The former office manager of the Lake Forest Park Water District was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 27 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and more than $404,000 in restitution for wire fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. Between 2004 and 2011, Jackee Bormann-Zweekhorst, 41, engaged in a scheme to embezzle more than $350,000 from the small water district. The restitution amount includes more than $56,000 spent uncovering the seven-year fraud. At sentencing, Chief U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman noted that Bormann-Zweekhorst embezzled “over and over and over again, for such a long period of time.”
“This defendant made it her job to steal five to 10 percent of this community water district’s annual budget each year,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “Her scheme took plenty of time and effort, and she even used her children to further her fraud. She traded on the trust of her co-workers and must be held accountable.”
According to records in the case, Bormann-Zweekhorst was responsible for submitting bills to King County for reimbursement from water district funds. Bormann-Zweekhorst was supposed to prepare the vouchers and supporting documents for the water district commissioners to review and approve. The approved vouchers then went to King County for payment. Bormann-Zweekhorst committed fraud through a variety of means. On multiple occasions, Bormann-Zweekhorst falsified time cards so that her children were paid for work never performed for the water district. Bormann-Zweekhorst then deposited most of this money into her own bank account. The amount of money claimed via the falsified time cards was in excess of $100,000.
Bormann-Zweekhorst used the water district’s credit card to pay for personal items and then caused the payment of water district funds to pay the bill. Some of the expenses she billed to the water district card included college tuition for her child, hot tub parts and service, boating and automotive equipment, fishing gear, and rental car expenses. The amount of fraud on the water district credit card exceeded $90,000. Bormann-Zweekhorst also had the water district pay for personal items purchased with her American Express card and for other personal expenses by claiming the expenses were work-related, when in fact they were not. Many of the receipts submitted for reimbursement were fabricated to support purchases that never occurred. Bormann-Zweekhorst sought reimbursement for more than $70,000 in personal items and for items never purchased through this aspect of the fraud. Bormann-Zweekhorst also purchased personal items from water department vendors and had the water department pay the bill.
“Local government agencies pledge a commitment to their communities and rely on their employees to uphold that commitment by providing honest services,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge W. Jay Abbott of the FBI’s Seattle Field Office. “As a steward of public funds, Ms. Zweekhorst took advantage of the community’s trust. For many years, she abused her position to operate a corrupt scheme intended to deceive the water district and its ratepayers. The FBI will continue to work with its valued partners to protect the American public from those who abuse their positions of trust.”
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Lake Forest Park Police Department. Significant assistance is being provided by the Washington State Auditor’s Office.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Diggs.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.