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Fairland bookkeeper to plead guilty to wire fraud, tax evasion

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A Fairland woman has agreed to plead guilty to federal charges in relation to alleged embezzling of $1.8 million from a small business where she was the bookkeeper, the U.S. attorney’s office says.

Julie Ann Ashman, 43, has agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion, U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler said in a news release.

Ashman served for years as bookkeeper of a southern Indiana small business specializing in repairing and refurbishing X-ray medical equipment, according to documents in the Indianapolis federal court. She was responsible for recording all deposits and payments in the company’s ledger, which she provided annually to the company’s accountant. She also had access to the company’s checkbook.

For over 4-1/2 years, Ashman allegedly used her position and access to secretly siphon company funds to her own bank account, the release said. Ashman cut checks to herself for between $3,000 and $5,000 up to 15 times per month. To conceal the missing funds, she intentionally understated the company’s revenue on its ledgers, leaving the company’s owners and its accountant to believe the company was barely profitable. She also falsified the checks’ memo lines to make them appear to be for legitimate business expenses. In total, Ashman allegedly cut 436 company checks to herself for a total of $1,805,015.12.

Additionally, Ashman allegedly failed to report to the Internal Revenue Service or pay taxes on the money she stole, the release said. She omitted from the company’s books any reference to the payments to herself, which prevented the company from issuing her a W-2 or 1099. Further, none of her tax returns made any reference to the hundreds of thousands of dollars she spent on herself each year. In total, Ashman evaded paying taxes of $463,078.00.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nick Linder, who is prosecuting the case, said Ashman, if found guilty, could face up to 20 years in prison on the fraud charge and up to five years in prison on the tax-evasion charge.

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