A former accounts payable clerk at a Brooklyn Park medical supply company was sentenced to more than five years in prison Thursday for embezzling more than $1.7 million over the course of a decade, spending the money on vacations and vehicles as the business struggled through the recession.
Stephanie Davis, 37, of Maple Grove, received the highest amount of time called for under state sentencing guidelines, according to a news release by the Hennepin County Attorney. She was also ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution.
Assistant county attorney Susan Crumb asked for an increase beyond the guidelines to nearly seven years in prison, which was allowable because of aggravating circumstances like the sophistication of the scheme and the amount of money stolen, which Judge Juan Hoyos called “astonishing.”
Davis’ fraud was discovered in January when officials at Reliable Medical Supply Co. discovered two checks that had been paid from the company account but did not show up as payables in the company records. Davis, who was the accounts payable clerk since 2000, began stealing around 2005 by setting up fake vendors in the company’s payable system with names that were nearly identical to real, approved vendors.
Davis would make a check payable to herself, but remove it from the group that the CEO would sign. After the legitimate checks were signed, Davis would forge the CEO’s signature on her check and deposit it into her bank account, attributing it to one of the fake vendors.
In a victim impact statement, Reliable Medical CEO Jeff Hall said that early in her career, Davis stopped a forged check and told Hall that “no one steals from us,” convincing him that she had the company’s best interests at heart. News of the theft brought the majority of employees “to tears and anger,” he said. During the recession that began in 2008, Hall had to freeze wages. That year alone, Davis stole $204,000.
In the meantime, he said, she was taking trips to Disney World, spending New Year’s Eve in Times Square, and buying cars, boats, snowmobiles and guns for her husband. Whenever Hall would ask her about her spending, she would tell him her husband was doing well with his job.
Davis apologized to the court, the company and her family at her sentencing, saying she was “horrified that my stupidity could leave my children motherless.”