Accountant Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud and Money Laundering
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 12, 2011|
Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced today that KIMBERLY O’DELL, age 50, pled guilty September 8, 2011, to charges that she fraudulently obtained funds from clients’ bank accounts. O’Dell pled guilty to six counts of wire fraud, four counts of money laundering, and one count of misuse of names or symbols of the Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). She faces a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each wire fraud count, 10 years in prison on each money laundering count, and one year in prison on the misuse of the Department of Treasury name count.
A superseding indictment was filed on May 25, 2011 against O’Dell. The indictment alleged that O’Dell defrauded her clients out of a total of $1,561,069.96. O’Dell was arrested on June 15, 2011, by the United States Marshals service in New Orleans, Louisiana. O’Dell was originally indicted by a grand jury on November 4, 2010. The indictments alleged that O’Dell provided bookkeeping services to a University of Arkansas-Fayetteville Chapter of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. O’Dell also provided accounting services to Thomas Terminella and his company, Terminella & Associates, Inc.
According to the filed plea agreement, from November 2005 through September 2008, O’Dell was a certified public accountant operating her business, O’Dell and Associates. During this time period, she devised a scheme to defraud Phi Delta Theta, Terminella, and Terminella & Associates (clients). O’Dell transferred funds, without authorization, from her clients’ bank accounts via telephone transfers and online computer transfers to her O’Dell and Associates American Express account. O’Dell also wrote checks on her clients’ bank accounts to herself and her accounting firm.
Lastly, O’Dell admitted that she tampered with a letter purporting to be from the IRS by using IRS letterhead and then falsifying the contents of the letter, signing it with a fictitious name and then sending it to her clients, Thomas and Monica Terminella, for the purpose of delaying their discovery of her fraud scheme.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, the Department of Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Fayetteville Police Department. The Washington County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office also cooperated on this case. First Assistant U.S. Attorney Wendy L. Johnson prosecuted the case for the United States.