Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, bookkeeper sentenced to prison for embezzlement

Gavel tile / photo courtesy of Getty Images
Gavel tile / photo courtesy of Getty Images

Alice Sue Smith, a former bookkeeper and office manager at Chattanooga Coin, has been sentenced for embezzling more than $1 million from the business and for filing false tax returns.

Smith, 63, of Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, worked as a bookkeeper at Chattanooga Coin from 2004 to 2018. From 2009 to 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice said, she forged signatures on about 1,400 checks that she then cashed. To hide her fraud, Smith fabricated check stubs in Chattanooga Coin's financial records. She also failed to report the embezzled funds and other legitimate income on her tax returns.

"When employees take advantage of their positions of trust to steal from small, family-owned businesses, real victims suffer serious financial harm," Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt Erskine said in a statement. "As in this case, there are real and significant consequences for employees who are caught stealing from their employers."

In Smith's case, she was sentenced to 3 years and 7 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. She was also ordered by the court to pay approximately $1.48 million in restitution to Chattanooga Coin and the federal government.

Smith pleaded guilty to wire fraud and filing a false tax in early February.

"Smith let her greed blind her to responsibilities her company entrusted her with. For that she will be held accountable," said Chris Hacker, special agent in charge at the FBI in Atlanta.

Both the FBI and the IRS investigated this case, with assistance from the Rossville Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Qin and Russell Phillips prosecuted Smith's case.

Contact Kelcey Caulder at kcaulder@timesfree or 423-757-6327. Follow her on Twitter @kelceycaulder.

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