Carrie Lynn Couch, 47, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court to serve 41 months in prison for bank fraud and tax evasion.
"When employees use their position to enrich themselves, the system is exploited," stated U.S. Attorney Alice H. Martin. "Those employees should and will be held accountable for violating the trust that was placed in them by their employers."
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge U.W. Clemon ordered that Couch pay full restitution. Victims testified at the hearing about the extraordinary impacts suffered by them as well as their businesses as a result of Couch's actions. Testimony revealed that Couch had used some of the funds for internet gambling. Couch was charged in a Criminal Information and pled guilty on December 29, 2006, to bank fraud and income tax evasion.
Couch was employed as a bookkeeper for Amy Uptain, CPA since 1995. She performed various bookkeeping duties for Uptain's clients, some of which provided signature stamps and checks to facilitate the paying of bills and taxes. Through her employment, Couch also had access to clients' bank statements, cancelled checks as well as accounts receivable and payable checks. She used her position and access to those accounts to steal money from these clients. Couch opened a fictitious business bank account and used the account to deposit stolen money while carrying out the embezzlement scheme. Couch admitted to embezzling $587,128.36 from clients of Amy Uptain, CPA, over a three year period from 2001 through 2003.
"The utilization of the financial system of this nation to steal income, conceal the income and then evade taxes is a serious offense," stated Rebecca A. Sparkman, Special Agent in Charge with IRS Criminal Investigation. "The prosecution of this individual is a vital element in maintaining the public confidence in our financial system."