Two longtime friends, each with a history of bankruptcy, have been sentenced in St. Paul to prison for stealing more than $1.6 million from ING, the international insurance and investment firm where one of them worked.

Angela P. Madison, 42, of Minneapolis, was sentenced in federal court to a month shy of three years in prison for aiding and abetting mail fraud from her employer. Tracy D. Jackson, also 42 and from Minneapolis, was sentenced to a prison term of 2 1/4 years on the same count. Madison was ordered to pay more than $1.6 million in restitution to ING, while Jackson was ordered to pay more than $1.1 million.

Both pleaded guilty last summer to the nearly nine-year scheme, which Madison initiated in 2003 and recruited Jackson into in 2008.

Madison, who worked in ING’s Minneapolis office as a policy plan coordinator, admitted to being personally responsible for stealing about $1.1 million while handling requests from clients. She used the company’s computer system to generate false statements in the name of various people, including Jackson, according to court documents. Jackson, who did not work for ING, cashed the checks and split the proceeds with Madison, the documents show.

In all, the pair conspired to create nearly 200 checks to be drawn on ING accounts.

Federal bankruptcy records indicate that Madison filed for Chapter 7 liquidation in February 2003, the same year she began to defraud the Dutch-based conglomerate. Jackson filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 1997 and for Chapter 13 protection the following year, court records show.

In arguing for a “substantial reduction” from federal guidelines that called for a term of 41 to 51 months, a defense filing noted that Madison “alerted her employer several times” about the flaw in ING’s accounting system that allowed her to steal. The defense added that she even sought a job transfer to bring the thefts to an end but “she was told that she was too good at was she did to be relocated.”

The defense also argued that Madison spent most of the money on others in her family who were in financial or medical difficulty, noting that her husband lost his job in 2003 and their house fell into foreclosure.

The prosecution countered in arguing for a 41-month term that Madison “used much of [the money] for frivolous personal expenses like clothing and travel.”

Jackson’s defense received the length of prison time it sought, pointing out that she received only half of the money that was stolen and was not employed there. The prosecution noted that she was eligible for a term of 33 to 41 months but declined to push for a certain length.