A former employee of a Baton Rouge business was sentenced to federal prison after she used company funds to pay for about $460,000 worth of personal expenses, including trips, clothes and vehicle loans, U.S. Attorney Walt Greene said Wednesday.
After pleading guilty Sept. 20 to a count of wire fraud, Melissa St. Pierre, the former controller for Aerial Access Equipment, was sentenced to 20 months in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution of $442,064 to the company and forfeit all property gained as a result of the scheme, Green said in a news release.
St. Pierre, 49, was also ordered to pay a $7,500 fine.
Between August 2012 and March 2015, St. Pierre used her access as an employee and diverted funds from company credit cards and AAE bank accounts to pay for her travel, vehicle loans, payday loans, credit card accounts, utility and telephone bills, clothes and accessories, and family expenses, Green said.
St. Pierre diverted company documents to her home and altered them to cover up the scheme, the release says. She is accused of embezzling $459,222.
“The greatest fraud threats to businesses are typically from within and by those holding significant trust and responsibility,” Green said in the release.
Assistant U.S. Attorney René Salomon prosecuted the case, and the FBI investigated the matter.