Accounts payable audits can help companies across a variety of sectors ensure the health and accuracy of their accounting and prevent embezzlement of funds that may otherwise go unseen. When firms fail to implement such technologies, however, the results can be grave, as one high-profile case recently made clear.
Pamela Loving, the former director of Flint, Mich.-based employment services firm Career Alliance, won't be going to prison after pleading guilty to fraud, ABC 12 reported. Although Loving admitted that she embezzled thousands of dollars that belonged to the organization, a judge recently sentenced her to five years of probation and one year of house arrest rather than jail time. Nevertheless, the court ordered a restitution payment of more than $500,000.
According to MLive, Loving's somewhat unusual sentence – such fraud is almost always punished with jail time – may be due in part to her lawyer's argument that the former head of Career Alliance only benefited from a fraction of the funds she embezzled. Defense attorney Richard Morgan made the case that his client only used about $13,000 in a way that rendered her personal gain, though she defrauded her employer of approximately $77,000. Still, judge Mark Goldsmith was not entirely convinced by Morgan's argument.
"There was a significant amount of funding that ended up benefiting [Loving] either in a monetary way or a non-monetary way," Goldsmith commented, according to MLive. He noted that Loving took advantage of her position with the organization to boost her standing within the community.
Goldsmith must have seen some mitigating factors surrounding the crime, however, as Loving could have been ordered to spend up to two years behind bars, according to the news source. The justice of the sentence is a matter of debate, but the need for AP audits to detect fraudulent invoices remains clear.