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Shelby County woman accused of stealing $1.8 million from small business

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A Shelby County woman accused of stealing $1.8 million from a small business has pleaded guilty to federal charges of wire fraud and tax evasion.

United States Attorney Josh Minkler says Julie Ann Ashman, 43, of Fairland, Indiana has been charged in connection with a long-running scheme to defraud a small business where she was a bookkeeper.

“We count on the people we work with to be honest, especially people who occupy positions of trust,” said Minkler. “Exploiting that trust for purely personal gain can devastate an organization, especially a small business. Those who choose to commit fraud will be caught, prosecuted, and held accountable.”

Ashman served for years as bookkeeper of a southern Indiana small business specializing in repairing and refurbishing X-ray medical equipment, according to court documents. 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.

Ashman allegedly used her position and access to secretly siphon company funds to her own bank account for over four and a half years. She 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. In total, Ashman allegedly cut 436 company checks to herself for a total of $1,805,015.

Additionally, Minkler says Ashman failed to report to the IRS or pay taxes on the money she stole, and she evaded paying taxes of $463,078.

She faces up to 20 years in prison on the fraud charge and up to 5 years in prison on the tax evasion charge.