North Kansas City woman pleads guilty to embezzling $277,000 fro - KCTV5

North Kansas City woman pleads guilty to embezzling $277,000 from her employer

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A North Kansas City woman has pleaded guilty in federal court to embezzling more than $277,000 from her former employer. (KCTV5) A North Kansas City woman has pleaded guilty in federal court to embezzling more than $277,000 from her former employer. (KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A North Kansas City woman has pleaded guilty in federal court to embezzling more than $277,000 from her former employer.

Tonya A. Topel, 40, waived her right to a grand jury Monday and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner to a federal information that charges her with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Topel was a senior auditor at Construction Benefits Audit Corporation (CBAC), a Kansas City non-profit corporation that conducts employer audits of union contracts for employers making payments into fringe benefit plans, and ensures fringe benefit payments are made correctly.

T opel, who earned approximately $68,000 a year, managed audits and staff and presented ongoing audits. She handled expense payments and had sole access to CBAC’s QuickBooks.

By pleading guilty, Topel admitted that she conducted four fraudulent embezzlement schemes while employed at CBAC. She began her first scheme, in which she created false invoices for toner cartridges, on Oct. 18, 2012, just a few months after she started working at CBAC. She then added three more fraud schemes, which continued until CBAC discovered her embezzlement and she resigned in May 2016.

Through her four fraud schemes, Topel embezzled a total of at least $277,681 from CBAC.

Tom Larson, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri said the investigation to date has shown Topel’s spending of the embezzled funds included travel to Hawaii, Dallas, Boston, and the Bahamas; restaurants; entertainment, including golf, spas, tickets for the Kansas City Royals and Chiefs and Worlds of Fun; a 2014 Ford Mustang; and personal spending such as cash, clothing, dance classes, utility bills, jewelry, transfers to relatives, bank fees/NSF fees, iPads, groceries, and other living expenses.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Topel must pay a money judgment of at least $277,681 and forfeit to the government a 2014 Ford Mustang.

Under federal statutes, Topel is subject to a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison without parole for wire fraud, plus a mandatory consecutive sentence of two years in federal prison without parole for aggravated identity theft.

A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

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