Two Spokane Residents Sentenced to Prison for Embezzlement and Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 05, 2009|
SPOKANE—James A. McDevitt, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced today that Michelle Anne Wing was sentenced to 86 months in prison and last week, Kenneth A. Marsh was sentenced to 14 months in prison. Last June, Michelle Anne Wing pleaded guilty to six counts of Bank Fraud and one count of Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud and Kenneth A. Marsh pleaded guilty to two counts of Filing a False Income Tax Return. Michelle Wing, age 34, and Kenneth Marsh, age 40, both residents of Spokane, were ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $755,355.69 and $165,007.39, respectively. Michelle Wing will be under court supervision for five years after she is released and Kenneth Marsh will be under court supervision for one year after he is released.
According to the plea agreements, beginning about December 2005 and continuing through July 2008, Michelle Anne Wing and Kenneth A. Marsh engaged in a scheme to embezzle more than $810,000 from Centaur, and its two owners by: forging checks; making unauthorized withdrawals and deposits between corporate accounts in an attempt to conceal the embezzled funds through an apparent check kiting scheme; and through the acquisition of credit cards and credit accounts obtained through unauthorized means and false representations to financial institutions, including through the unauthorized use of the business credentials of Centaur, and its two owners. Centaur was a Spokane business which was established to provide administrative services to the advertising companies, E. Media and Power Marketing Services.
Michelle Wing, who was hired as a bookkeeper for Centaur in April 2006, after having served as a temporary employee since December 2005, was responsible for processing checks for payment, reconciling bank records, opening company mail, and paying invoices on behalf of Centaur. Michelle Wing’s embezzlement was uncovered when Centaur’s accountant observed high dollar checks ($30,000 to $50,000) being written between bank accounts and high-dollar payments to American West Bank, where Michelle Wing had a credit card issued in her name. Michelle Wing was previously directed to destroy that credit card by a Centaur owner. A subsequent review of the company’s internal accounting records discovered that Michelle Wing had been forging both owners’ signatures on certain checks that she deposited, which she had made payable to herself, to “cash,” and to others. Approximately $119,000 was embezzled from the various company accounts.
Michelle Wing fraudulently opened credit card accounts and used the: (1) Advanta Bank credit card to charge $389,919.20; (2) Chase Bank credit card to charge $115,438.17; and (3) America West Bank credit card to charge $79,140.95 in goods, services and merchandise. Kenneth Marsh used a fraudulently obtained Advanta Bank credit card issued in his name to charge $106,586.67. These charges included a trip to the Super Bowl, airline tickets, vacations to Hawaii, jewelry, and private school expenses.
Michelle Wing failed to report the income from her crimes, totaling $106,000 in 2006 and $372,000 in 2007, resulting in her liability to the Internal Revenue Service for over $144,000 in taxes. Kenneth Marsh failed to report his illegal income to the IRS on his 2006 and 2007 tax returns and is liable for more than $26,000 in taxes.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney K. Jill Bolton.