Lansing Woman Sentenced to Prison for Obstruction of Justice
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 28, 2012|
GRAND RAPIDS, MI—Lori Knechtel of Lansing, Michigan, was sentenced to 21 months’ imprisonment for obstructing justice in her prior federal case in which she was convicted of access device fraud, U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles announced today. The 21-month sentence will run partially consecutive to her 27-month prison sentence for access device fraud.
On March 22, 2012, Knechtel was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker to serve 27 months in prison for embezzling more than $122,000 from her prior employer, Anderson Economic Group LLC. After sentencing, the FBI learned that Knechtel provided her defense attorney with a forged letter on the company letterhead of her then-current employer. Knechtel’s defense attorney filed the letter with the court in connection with her sentencing proceeding not knowing that the letter had been written and signed by Knechtel without her employer’s knowledge. The letter listed several of her accomplishments, claimed that Knechtel was “irreplaceable,” and concluded that “losing Lori as employee [sic] would be a huge loss for our company.”
In May 2012, a federal grand jury indicted Knechtel for obstruction of justice. Knechtel admitted that she wrote and submitted the forged letter in connection with her sentencing believing that the letter might assist in obtaining a lower sentence.
At Knechtel’s sentencing on the obstruction of justice charge, U.S. District Judge Janet Neff described Knechtel’s crime as an attack on the integrity of the court system that rarely occurs. Judge Neff also expressed concern that Knechtel committed additional fraudulent conduct while awaiting sentencing on her embezzlement conviction.
This case was investigated by the Lansing Resident Agency of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher O’Connor.