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Hancock County bookkeeper accused of stealing from employer indicted in $1 million scheme



Hancock County, Indiana – Federal charges have been brought against a bookkeeper who is suspected of stealing over a million dollars from her workplace.

Jennifer Horton was indicted on five counts by a federal grand jury for conspiring to defraud her employer, a Hancock County lawn care company. She faces allegations of wire fraud.

In October 2023, the state of Indiana, which had earlier attempted to prosecute Horton for theft and fraud, filed a motion to dismiss the case.

She stole more than half a million dollars from her company, according to the state’s investigation, which was reported in a probable cause affidavit submitted last year.

The government examination into the case found that it was considerably worse than that.
Between 2016 and 2022, Horton stole $1,002,680 from her employer using transfers from bank accounts made through Square, a platform for financial services that handles credit card transactions, and a payroll processing firm.

“The objective of the scheme was for HORTON to enrich herself by obtaining money belonging to or intended for Company 1 for her own personal use,” the indictment said.

As per the indictment, Horton concealed her actions from the company’s owner while inflating her compensation, hiring her spouse as a full-time worker, and transferring credit card payments from consumers to a personal account.

The indictment claims that Horton gave fraudulent information to Automatic Data Processing (ADP), a corporation that offers payroll services to companies, regarding her income. The accusation states that the sums were “substantially more than her approved salary.”

Horton began paying her spouse from December 2020 onward, even though he had not been employed as a salaried worker. They then received company funds in their Chase accounts.
Horton gave the business owner printed previews of the paycheck, which revealed her getting her usual income, to hide her activities. She removed her husband’s line-item payments.
Horton undid the modifications to incorporate the exaggerated payments once the business owner approved the payroll.

She took $621,546 using this way, as stated in the indictment. However, Horton employed further strategies to further her wealth. Federal authorities claim that the business used Square to process credit card payments from clients. Horton often moved funds electronically from the business’s Square account to her personal bank accounts.

Once more, she attempted to hide her activities by altering client invoices with accounting software to show a smaller amount. She would then be able to transfer the difference between the actual price and the payments into her accounts because they would appear as “paid in full.”
The accusation states that she made $381,134 through the Square scheme.

According to US authorities, Horton engaged in wire fraud by manipulating the payments and moving funds between accounts. This is a federal offense since the electronic transfer requests were sent to servers that are not in Indiana.

The more than $1 million that Horton stole from her company is being sought for forfeiture by federal authorities, along with any other assets connected to the fraud. This comprises four automobiles (a 2020 Ford EcoSport, a 2021 Ford Mustang, a 2022 Ford F350, and a 2022 Ford Mustang), as detailed in the indictment.

If the government cannot obtain the entire worth of the property, it will pursue the forfeiture of other assets.


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