BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A Maurepas woman was sentenced to 20 months in federal prison for defrauding her employer for nearly three years, taking almost $500,000.
Melissa St. Pierre, 49, was ordered to pay restitution of $442,064 to the victim Aerial Access Equipment, LLC, and to serve a two year term of supervised release after her release from imprisonment. St. Pierre was also ordered to pay a fine of $7,500 and to forfeit all property traceable to the gross proceeds of the scheme, including but not limited to $459.222.
On September 30, 2015, she pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. She was the Controller at AAE from August 2012 through March 2, 2015. During this period, she used material false pretenses to divert AAE funds to her personal benefit, and utilized wire communications to execute her scheme. In her role as Controller, she accessed AAE bank accounts and company credit cards to divert company funds to her personal enrichment.
Court documents show St. Pierre used AAE funds to pay her personal financial obligations, including travel, loans related to luxury vehicles, payday loans, credit card accounts, utility and telephone bills, clothes and accessories, and other family expenses.
In order to conceal her misuse of AAE checks and ACH transfers, she altered monthly bank statements issued by various banks and diverted company documents to her home so that she could conceal her diversions and alter them so that she could avoid detection. During the period August 2012 through March 2015, St. Pierre embezzled approximately $459,222.
"This case illustrates, once again, the dangers that businesses face from trusted insiders who seek to defraud them. While external fraud threats are usually the focus, the greatest fraud threats to businesses are typically from within and by those holding significant trust and responsibility. My office, along with the FBI and our other federal, state, and local partners, will continue to aggressively pursue such important matters," said United States Attorney Walt Green.