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KOKOMO, Ind.–A woman from Kokomo will spend nearly two years in prison after pleading guilty to five counts of wire fraud.

On Monday, the Department of Justice said 43-year-old Bethany Olmsted fraudulently wrote approximately 520 checks from private companies to herself.

It began on November 29, 2017 when Olmsted was hired as a controller for Company A, a private business, and five other investment companies partially owned by Company A’s owner. She was supposed to manage the bookkeeping, tax reporting, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and day-to-day finances for each business. Her duties were to track and categorize all the companies’ receipts and spending using accounting software. She also had the authority to write company checks to pay legitimate business expenses.

Investigators say starting on November 29, 2018, Olmsted starting writing checks from the investment companies’ bank accounts to herself and depositing them into her personal bank account. To hide her thefts, Olmsted would falsely categorized these payments to herself as payments to legitimate businesses or vendors such as “Mowing & Landscaping.”  Similarly, she categorized checks written to herself as payments to “Fortune Companies Inc.” for “Repairs & Maintenance.”

The Department of Justice says she transferred money from Company A’s bank account to the other companies’ bank accounts to hide the thefts. When confronted by company leaders about the theft of company funds, Olmsted repeatedly lied about the extent of the thefts and her efforts to avoid detection by altering the companies’ books.

Between November 2018 and September 2021, Olmsted fraudulently wrote approximately 520 checks from the companies to herself. That resulted in her stealing $413,531. Investigators say Olmsted used the stolen money to buy spa treatments, jewelry, clothes, and dinners at high-end steakhouses.

“For almost three years, this defendant repaid the trust of her employers with deceit and theft, helping herself to nearly half a million dollars and cooking the books to hide the evidence,” said Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “Fraud and embezzlement can have devastating effects on the victim individuals and companies. The federal prison sentence imposed here demonstrates that those who commit financial crimes will pay a serious price. I commend the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and our federal prosecutor for their efforts to investigate these crimes and hold the defendant accountable.”

The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Court Judge James R. Sweeney II. Sweeney also ordered that Olmsted be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for 2 years following her release from federal prison and pay $413,531.98 in restitution to the victim businesses.