Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Freight Forwarding and Logistics Director Swindled $1.3 Million

Possibility of Twenty Years Incarceration Looms for Former Toll Executive
Shipping News Feature

US – The former Director of Finance of the international freight and logistics group Toll Global Forwarding has admitted stealing more than $1.3 million from her former employer through an elaborate false invoicing scheme. Karen Sipes of Brick, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before a Federal Court to ‘wire fraud’ during her time at Toll from August 2010 to August 2012. She now faces a 20 year prison sentence and has been ordered to pay back the full amount in addition to a $250,000 fine.

While Sipes was employed at Toll, she was responsible for entering vendor transactions and invoices into the company’s accounts payable accounting system and paying those vendors by preparing checks from Toll. As a result, Sipes had access to and significant control over the accounts payable accounting and bill payment systems.

In the false invoicing scheme, Sipes identified vendors with a high number of transactions and invoices in Toll’s accounting system. She admitted she would then create and input fake transactions and invoices for them, preparing checks payable to herself.

Sipes also admitted that she identified legitimate vendor transactions and invoices and changed vendors’ names to her name, making those checks payable to herself as well as use company checks to pay the credit card bill of a family member and accessed the accounting system to remove any record of the fraudulent transactions.

The wire fraud count to which Sipes pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. As part of her guilty plea, Sipes is required to pay restitution of $1,335,698.93 to Toll Global Forwarding and sentencing is scheduled for July 29, 2014.