Two Minneapolis women, longtime friends who each have a history of bankruptcy, have agreed to plead guilty to stealing more than $1.6 million from ING, the international insurance and investment firm where they worked, under a plea agreement filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.

Angela Patrice Madison, 41, and Tracy Dione Jackson, 42, face up to 20 years in prison and fines of $250,000 for the crimes, which took place from 2003 through last March. Court appearances have not been scheduled.

Madison, who worked in ING's Minneapolis office as a policy plan coordinator, admitted in the agreement that she was personally responsible for stealing about $1.1 million while handling requests from clients.

As a member of the employee benefits team, Madison was responsible for handling ING clients who sought to obtain loans or surrender their life insurance policies. She used the company's computer system to generate false statements in the name of various people, including Jackson, according to court documents. Jackson cashed the checks and split the proceeds with Madison, documents show.

In one instance in May, Madison defrauded ING for about $35,000 by generating a check in Jackson's name and sending it by mail to a location where Jackson could pick it up to be cashed.

The women, who could not be reached for comment, do not have criminal records. No one at ING's office was available for comment.

The pair's scheme apparently came to light after an anonymous tipster told bank officials about the fraud. "It came about as a result of an internal investigation," said Kevin Gregorius, Madison's attorney.

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

Federal bankruptcy filings 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.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Wilton prosecuted the case.

Paul McEnroe • 612-673-1745