Georgia Insurance Broker’s Bookkeeper Charged With Stealing $1 MIllion

January 25, 2010

A 63-year-old former bookkeeper at a Dalton, Georgia insurance brokerage is facing federal charges she embezzled more than $1 million from her employer.

Prosecutors say Carolyn Lynn Cherry of Chatsworth forged her supervisor’s signature on company checks from 2003 to 2009 and used the checks to pay off more than $1 million in personal credit card bills from Citibank, Chase/Washington Mutual and Capital One.

According to prosecutors, she had used the credit cards to pay for several trips to Disney World and Disney resorts, New York, Washington, D.C., and numerous beach and river destinations between Myrtle Beach and Honolulu. In addition, she allegedly used her credit cards to buy hundreds of items from television shopping networks.

In addition, Cherry allegedly wrote three company checks to herself for $11,300 and cashed them.

“The indictment charges that the defendant caused a serious financial harm to a small business,” prosecutor Yates said.

Cherry began working for a company identified in the documents as “R.I.,” an insurance broker in Dalton, in March 2003, soon after the company began operating.

Cherry was indicted by a federal grand jury on Jan. 12. The indictment charges her with 24 counts of mail fraud in connection with her use of the U.S. Postal Service to pay her credit card bills, and three counts of bank fraud, in connection with her cashing of forged company checks. The mail fraud charges are punishable by a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 per count. The bank fraud charges are punishable by a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a fine of $1 million per count.

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