Kansas Woman Sentenced to 22 Years for Stealing $731,000 from Two Employers
KANSAS CITY, MO—Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Bucyrus, Kan., woman was sentenced in federal court today for a bank fraud scheme in which she embezzled more than $543,000 from one employer, and admitted that she also stole more than $188,000 from a subsequent employer.
Susan Elise Prophet, 46, of Bucyrus, was sentenced by U.S. Chief District Judge Greg Kays to 22 years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Prophet to pay $668,889 in restitution to her former employers; this is in addition to a 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 Sport, a 2013 Harley Davidson FLTRX Road Glide motorcycle, a 2008 Ford Focus, a 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe and a 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer, all of which were purchased with proceeds of the fraud scheme and have already been acquired by her former employer to recuperate some of the loss.
On Aug. 13, 2014, Prophet pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. Prophet admitted that she embezzled $543,034 from Dorfman Plumbing Supply Company in Kansas City, Mo., by forging her employer’s signature on 104 checks, 99 of which were written to herself. After her theft was discovered and she was fired by Dorfman, Prophet was hired as a bookkeeper at a Paoloa, Kan., nursing center. Prophet admitted that she also embezzled at least $188,460 from this employer. According to court documents, Prophet defrauded several other employers as well.
Prophet worked as a bookkeeper for Dorfman from December 2012 until she was fired eight months later in August 2013. (The company has since been sold to Ferguson Enterprises, Inc., a national distributor of residential and commercial plumbing supplies.) Prophet was known to her employer as “Susan Morriss.” She touted that she was the wife of a federal law enforcement agent, which was true at or close to the time she was hired. In a separate and unrelated case, former ICE-Homeland Security Investigations agent Jeffrey Morriss was convicted of making false statements to FBI agents in regard to a more than $800,000 mortgage fraud scheme.
Prophet used the funds for her personal enrichment, purchasing trucks, a car, a motorcycle, travel, furniture, electronics, a gym membership, tattoos and other items. Prophet spent at least $130,424 on vehicle-related purchases, including a 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 Sport; a 2013 Harley Davidson FLTRX Road Glide motorcycle; a 2008 Ford Focus; a 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe; and a 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer. Prophet withdrew at least $86,000 from her accounts and wrote nearly $21,000 in checks to herself or to cash. She used the embezzled funds to pay her rent and pay down her debts, and spent at least $15,096 at restaurants, $12,743 on travel, $6,703 on electronics, and $9,221 at Nebraska Furniture Mart.
Prophet took steps to conceal her scheme, such as altering the company’s financial records to show that vendors had been paid when, in fact, they had not been paid. When vendors attempted to collect, Prophet answered the calls and hid the claims from her employer. As vendors began to freeze the company’s accounts, Prophet created new checks and forged her employer’s name on the checks to pay the most critical invoices.
When Prophet was hired by Dorfman in November 2012 she did not disclose her criminal history or that she was prohibited by her supervision conditions from working as a bookkeeper. She did not inform her parole officer of her new employment. Prophet began embezzling from the company the very next month.
On Aug. 7, 2013, company owner Charles Dorfman met with Scott Rayburn, a representative of Ferguson Enterprises, regarding the company’s sale to Ferguson. Prior to the meeting, Rayburn sent an e-mail to Dorfman containing a list of all the outstanding invoices that needed to be satisfied before the completion of the sale. During the negotiation process, Rayburn thanked Dorfman for paying the outstanding invoices to Ferguson via an electronic funds transfer of $10,000. Dorfman had neither ordered nor authorized the transfer. The electronic authorization form had been filled out by Prophet (who signed Dorfman’s name). At the conclusion of the meeting, Dorfman contacted bank officials regarding the known forgeries committed by Prophet and she was fired.
According to court documents, Prophet defrauded several other employers prior to being hired by Dorfman, and defrauded another employer after being fired from Dorfman.
In August 2012, Prophet apparently committed felony theft with respect to Mainstreet Credit Union, causing an apparent loss of $6,264. The same month, Covenant Network of Presbyterian Churches hired Prophet as a temporary administrative assistant and bookkeeper. From Aug. 30, 2012, through Sept. 11, 2012, Prophet stole checks from the church and wrote checks to herself by putting her name, or variations of her name, as the payee, and forged the executive director’s signature. She endorsed and deposited several checks into her bank account. The church’s loss was $10,997. On Oct. 1, 2012, a Liberty attorney hired Prophet as his part-time secretary for $10 per hour. She forged approximately $12,300 in checks on his firm’s account, and she opened or attempted to open six credit cards in his name.
A few months after being fired from Dorfman, on or about Oct. 10, 2013, Prophet obtained another bookkeeping job at North Point Skilled Nursing in Paola, Kan. She did not disclose her criminal history or that she was prohibited by her supervision conditions from working as a bookkeeper. She did not inform her parole officer of her new employment. Following her Feb. 28, 2014, arrest on the federal indictment, North Point discovered that Prophet had been embezzling from North Point as well, also by writing numerous checks to herself and altering the ledgers to conceal where the money actually went. The loss from this embezzlement was at least $188,460.
Prophet had worked as a bookkeeper for multiple companies beginning in Tennessee at least in 2002, and she sustained a felony conviction or convictions related to those positions. Upon her release from prison, Prophet applied to transfer her supervision from Tennessee to Kansas in 2009. Her release conditions prohibited her from any employment where she would have access to cash, checks or any account information of her employer. She was required to keep her parole officer continuously informed of her residence and employment, and to notify her employer of her felony convictions.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel M. Nelson. It was investigated by the FBI and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.