AP audit exposes communications company accountant’s embezzlement

The former chief accountant of fiber-optic network SDN Communications recently pleaded guilty to mail fraud after an accounts payable audit revealed that he had embezzled nearly $400,000 from the company between 2000 and 2010.

Bradley Whitsell agreed to pay back the stolen money, in addition to covering the cost of the $84,000 audit that exposed his actions, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Whitsell misappropriated the funds by making credit card bill payments and paying his children's private school tuition fees using company accounts. He also wrote checks to himself and redirected electronic payments to his personal bank account, the Argus Leader explains.

In exchange for the guilty plea, the office of U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson agreed to dismiss the wire fraud charge and recommend a lower penalty for the mail fraud conviction, which carries a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Elsewhere in the country, the business manager of the Chokio-Alberta School District in Western Minnesota recently pleaded guilty to wire fraud after an AP audit found she had embezzled more than $275,000 over approximately one decade. 

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