Judges Convict Franklin County Woman Over High-Level Scheme Involving Fraud and Money Laundering | USAO-EDMO
ST. LOUIS – United States District Judge Audrey G. Fleissig today sentenced Christen Diane Schulte to 80 months in prison. The 35-year-old Washington, Missouri resident pleaded guilty last year to two counts of wire fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of money laundering.
Schulte was a former accountant and office manager of a farming and trucking company based in New Haven, Missouri. Between January 2018 and February 2020, Schulte knowingly and intentionally designed and executed a scheme to defraud and obtain funds from her former employer and others through false and fraudulent material statements in that she, without her knowledge and without his former employer authority, embezzled funds for his personal use. The total loss of this plan is approximately $ 727,000.
As part of his scheme, Schulte fraudulently and unauthorized use of corporate credit cards for personal expenses. Schulte also fraudulently tricked American Express and FirstBank into issuing its new credit cards on behalf of the companies. Schulte fraudulently billed over 1,800 transactions totaling over $ 532,000 on these credit cards. Schulte also forged the signatures of the owner and several company employees, on checks from several different bank accounts, including the employees’ personal accounts. Several of these checks were made payable to Schulte, but some of them were made payable to companies in order to conceal lost funds related to his credit card system.
More forged checks were drawn from a bank account held by the Berger Levee District of Franklin County, which is a taxpayer-funded dike district tasked with creating flood control projects in Franklin County . Schulte forged the signature of the district treasurer of Berger Levee on the checks she made payable to businesses in order to cover up stray funds related to her credit card system. Schulte used the fraudulently obtained funds for his own personal gain, including buying jewelry, a caravan, vehicles and vacation travel.
“White collar crime is not a victimless crime. The court sent a clear message during the sentencing that the projects undertaken by Schulte will not be tolerated, ”said US prosecutor Sayler A. Fleming. “The case was the result of a cooperative effort by many law enforcement agencies, all working together to seek justice for the many victims affected.
“Christen Schulte was sentenced again to jail for defrauding others who trusted her,” said Special Agent in Charge Richard Quinn of the St. Louis FBI Division. “The victim employer discovered the theft after an internal audit before Schulte caused irreparable damage to the company. This case highlights the value of having robust internal controls. “
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating this matter. Assistant US Attorney Kyle T. Bateman is handling the case.