Long-Time Friends Admit Embezzling from Tax Consulting Business
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 20, 2013|
DALLAS—Lamonica Phillips and Pamela Gail Willis, aka Pamela Gayle Knight, both of Dallas, appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Renee Harris Toliver, and each pleaded guilty to a federal felony offense stemming from their embezzlement of funds from Phillips’ former employer, announced US. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
Specifically, Phillips and Willis, both 44, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Each faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and restitution. A sentencing date was not set.
In a related case, Audrey Starr, 51, of Oklahoma City, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and four substantive counts of mail fraud. If convicted the conspiracy count carries a maximum statutory penalty of five years in federal prison and each of the substantive mail fraud counts carries a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison. Each count also carries a maximum statutory penalty of $250,000.
According to documents filed in the case, Phillips and Willis devised and carried out a scheme to embezzle money from Phillips’ employer, Industry Consulting Group (ICG). Starr allegedly became a conspirator in the scheme through knowingly receiving and using stolen funds.
ICG is a tax consulting business based in Dallas that focuses on tax valuation of properties and the maintenance of tax portfolios. As part of their business ICG, on behalf of their clients, pays taxes on home mortgages and provides valuations of properties in order to contest tax appraisals.
As part of her duties, Phillips had access to ICG’s financial software, could prepare checks on behalf of ICG, and was responsible for cashing and mailing checks to ICG’s customers. Phillips began the scheme to defraud ICG in March 2012, following a conversation with her good friend, Willis.
The case is being investigated by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney P. J. Meitl is in charge of the prosecution.