(STL.News) – A Whitesburg, Ky., woman, Sherry Thomas, 50, pleaded guilty on Thursday, before U.S. District Judge Claria Horn Boom, admitting to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

According to her plea agreement, Thomas was employed as the office manager and bookkeeper for the Carbon River Coal Corporation, from the 1980s until January 2019.  While working there, rather than paying the appropriate expenses and taxes for the Corporation, Thomas engaged in a scheme to defraud the Corporation of its funds.  Specifically, between July 18, 2013 and November 21, 2018, Thomas wrote 173 checks to herself, from the Corporation’s accounts, totaling $238,052.23, and deposited them into her personal account.  In writing the checks, Thomas forged the signature stamp of the Vice President of the Corporation, without his permission.

Thomas was indicted in December 2019.

Robert M. Duncan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; and Bryant Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, jointly announced the guilty plea.

The investigation was conducted by IRS Criminal Investigations and the Department of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.  The United States was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nick Rabold.

Thomas is scheduled to be sentenced on December 8, 2020.  She faces a maximum of 20 years in prison for the wire fraud, a minimum of two years consecutive for the identity theft, and a maximum fine of $500,000.  However, any sentence will be imposed by the Court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal sentencing statutes.

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