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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Joplin Woman Indicted for $88,000 Fraud Scheme


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Joplin, Mo., woman was indicted by a federal grand jury today for embezzling more than $88,000 from her employer, Frank Fletcher Ford, in a wire fraud scheme.

Kathryn M. Stayton, 36, of Joplin, was charged with 10 counts of wire fraud in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Springfield, Mo.

Today’s indictment alleges that Stayton embezzled $88,000 between September 2009 and September 2011, while employed as a controller and managing the accounting department at Frank Fletcher Ford, part of the Ford Auto Group in Joplin.

As a controller, Stayton had access to the dealership’s blank disbursement check stock and was an approved signor of manual checks. The dealership’s policy requires two signatures on each manual check, regardless of amount. Stayton allegedly wrote 131 checks totaling approximately $46,664 from Fletcher Ford’s bank account to herself or her family members then deposited the checks in her own bank accounts. She attempted to disguise the nature of these transactions by forging the second required authorizing signature on the checks.

In addition, the indictment says, Stayton took cash payments totaling approximately $41,365 that were made to Fletcher Ford. She allegedly attempted to disguise the theft of the cash payments through fraudulent journal entries in Fletcher Ford’s accounting records.

The total amount of loss to Fletcher Ford for both unauthorized check payments and theft of cash was approximately $88,030.

Dickinson cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Milligan. It was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service and the Joplin, Mo., Police Department.
Updated January 8, 2015