INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– A woman pleaded guilty Thursday to forging checks from her employer totaling more than $450,000.
Heather Kirby pleaded guilty to four counts of forgery after mishandling $455,344.88 while employed as a senior accountant at Mobile Drill, LLC. Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said Kirby admitted to using false information in the company’s accounting system to generate checks payable to herself.
A total of 137 checks were forged between July 2014 through Jan. 19, 2017. Kirby admitted to investigators she made them out to herself and forged the signature of the company’s president.
The money was used for personal matters including medical bills, rent, student loans and travel.
During a year-end accounting close out conducted in January 2017, an accountant reviewing Mobile Drill’s records discovered an unusually high expense account that had incurred more expenses than were allocated to inventory. After contacting vendors, the company’s president learned that invoice numbers and related information in its accounting system did not correspond with the invoices actually issued by the vendors.
She was terminated in January 2017. Multiple false entries were found in the accounting software system and traced to her.
On Thursday, she received a sentence of eight years on probation and will pay $1,000 per month in restitution.
“Small business owners face many challenges, and entrusting an employee to appropriately manage the company’s finances should not be one. Unfortunately, we have seen through the multiple prosecutions of accountants, bookkeepers and other fund managers that the temptation to siphon off company funds cannot be underestimated,” Curry said. “It is imperative that employers report employee theft to hold the offender accountable. Once an individual has been suspected of misappropriating funds but not reported, it may signal a free pass to move on and commit the same crime with other employers.”