Federal grand jury indicts Martinez woman on multiple fraud charges

MARTINEZ, Calif. – A federal grand jury has indicted a Martinez woman with charges of wire fraud, bank fraud, identity theft and credit card charges, the Northern California district of the United States Department of Justice announced in a prepared statement released jointly by United States Attorney Alex G. Tse and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett.

Karen Posey, 57, who had been the business finance manager of a San Francisco architecture firm from July 2016 to December 2017. She has been accused of stealing $235,000 from the company, and was arrested Aug. 31 in Martinez after an investigation by the FBI.

The indictment was filed and unsealed Aug. 31, the statement said.

“Posey is alleged to have stolen money from the firm in various ways, including by writing company checks and making them out to herself, and then depositing the money in her personal bank account,” Tse and Bennett said in the joint statement.

“She also used a corporate credit card to pay for personal expenses and used a corporate debit card to withdraw thousands of dollars in cash from the firm’s account,” they said.

She has been charged with four counts of wire fraud and one count each of aggravated identity theft, bank fraud and fraudulent use of unauthorized access devices, in violation of various United States Codes.

After her arrest, Posey made an initial appearance in federal court before United States Magristrate Judge Jacqueline Corley Aug. 31, and was released on a $50,000 bond and was scheduled to appear Tuesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte for identification of counsel and arraignment.

Tse and Bennett stressed that Posey remains presumed innocent, but if she is convicted, she could face up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and restitution for each wire fraud count; 30 years in prison a $1 million fine plus restitution for conviction of bank fraud; 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine plus restitution if convicted of access device fraud; and two additional and consecutive years in prison for aggravated identity theft. Those penalties could be modified under United States Sentencing Guidelines and federal laws, they added.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ross Weingarten is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Marina Prnomarchuk, their statement said.

The prepared statement did not refer to other aspects of the FBI investigation or other suspects, nor did it name the company at which Posey had worked.

But in February, Sally Swanson Architects filed a property fraud complaint in the San Francisco County Superior Court against more than 100 named and unnamed defendants, claiming conspiracy to defraud the firm of $242,006.24. Posey was among those named in that suit.

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