Two women from Indianapolis have been sentenced to three years of probation and have been ordered to pay restitution amounting to over $270,000. They pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud.
Two individuals, Alicia Wilson (37) and Mindi B. Madison (53), have admitted their guilt in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud according to a Department of Justice announcement.
According to court documents, Wilson and Madison were accused of conspiring to embezzle funds from WFYI (Indy’s Public Radio, TV, and News Station) into their personal checking accounts.
Madison started her job as an accounting specialist at the media company in January 2018. The company, owned and operated by Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Media, Inc., offered television and radio programming across Central Indiana.
Wilson did not work for WFYI nor did he provide any services to the organization.
Madison, an accounting specialist, had the authority to access the station’s accounting software. It was her responsibility to present valid expenses, claims, invoices, and supporting documents, along with the unsigned checks from WFYI, to employees who had the power to approve and sign them.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has revealed that Madison, instead of submitting valid claims for business expenses, misused her position by submitting a staggering number of 156 fraudulent claims and invoices for payment.
To hide the theft from WFYI and their banks, Madison and Wilson made a pact that Madison would fabricate invoices. He used variations of Wilson’s name and businesses associated with her to do so.
Madison handed over checks to Wilson, and they reached an agreement that Wilson would deposit the checks into her bank accounts. Subsequently, Wilson withdrew the portion belonging to Madison in cash, and they divided the illicit earnings between them.
Both Madison and Wilson utilized the stolen funds from WFYI for their personal expenses, which included but were not limited to rent, dining out, groceries, fuel, and utilities.
The embezzlement scheme orchestrated by the pair resulted in a staggering sum of around $270,876 being siphoned off from WFYI before the crime was eventually uncovered. Wilson’s active involvement in the fraudulent activities made it incredibly difficult for the station to detect the theft.
The Department of Justice issued a statement in response to the sentencing.
Zachary A. Myers, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, expressed concern over the severe impact that complex economic crimes have on the financial well-being and security of both businesses and individuals. He emphasized the devastating consequences of the defendants’ theft, which resulted in WFYI losing hundreds of thousands of dollars that were originally intended for public service and community education. Myers reaffirmed his office’s commitment to collaborating with the FBI to identify and prosecute individuals who engage in schemes and theft motivated by personal greed.