U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of California
(619) 557-5610
August 27, 2014

HP Executive Assistant Fuels Million-Dollar Spending Spree with Stolen Company Funds

SAN DIEGO, CA—Holli Dawn Coulman, who served as an executive to a Hewlett Packard (“HP”) Senior Vice President from 2008 to May 2012, admitted defrauding the company of nearly $1 million through a series of fraudulent employee reimbursements. According to documents filed in federal court, Coulman fraudulently justified the payments of international trips, country club expenses, and high-end clothing purchases by falsely claiming them as legitimate business expenses.

Coulman began working at HP in San Diego in approximately June 2000, and served as an executive assistant. In this position, she received a number of American Express corporate credit cards, which were to be used solely for authorized and approved business expenses. Coulman, however, used the credit cards to support an extravagant and luxurious lifestyle, including spending: (1) in excess of $100,000 at the La Costa Resort Spa; (2) more than $43,000 at the Lodge at Pebble Beach and Casa Palmero at Pebble Beach; (3) thousands of dollars in airfare for trips to Hawaii and Europe; (4) thousands of dollars purchasing items at the Apple Store; (5) more than $33,000 in BTO Sports motocross gear; and (6) thousands of dollars in charges to Neiman Marcus and Nordstroms. In addition, Coulman admitted using the company credit cards to pay for more than $350,000 in expenses accrued by her brother’s custom painting business in Colorado.

As revealed in court pleadings, Coulman went to great lengths to cover up her theft of company funds. Among other things, she intercepted e-mails sent from HP program administrators that questioned her various personal expenditures. After intercepting the incriminating e-mails, Coulman would often delete them before they could be reviewed by her boss, a senior vice president. Occasionally, she would fabricate responses indicating that the expenses had been authorized by her boss, even going so far as to submit fabricated supporting documentation, receipts, and invoices. In total, Coulman stole approximately $954,292.31 from HP through her scheme.

United States Attorney Duffy added, “This type of brazen corporate theft directly harms the shareholders of the company and the public at large due to increases in the cost of goods sold by companies. I commend the FBI for its work in uncovering this theft.”

Coulman entered her guilty plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jill L. Burkhardt, and is scheduled for sentencing on before U.S. District Judge Marilyn Huff on December 1, 2014.

DEFENDANT

  • Holli Dawn Coulman
  • Age: 43

Case Number: 14CR2424-H

CHARGES

  • Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343 (Wire Fraud)
  • Maximum penalty: 20 years of custody; $250,000 Fine (or twice the gross loss from the offense)

INVESTIGATING AGENCY

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
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