Posted: May 30, 2013 3:36 PM by KBZK Media Center
MISSOULA - A Belgrade woman has entered a guilty plea in a case in which she's accused of embezzling more than $300,000 from a Bozeman asphalt company where she worked.
Athaliah Venus Allison, 36, pleaded guilty in federal court in Missoula today to two counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
Allison worked as a bookkeeper at Big Sky Asphalt from summer 2008 to summer 2012. The first summer she worked there, she began embezzling from the business by writing and signing unauthorized company checks to herself and others and making unauthorized credit card purchases on the company credit card, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
In total, Allison is accused of embezzling $318,166.04 from the company.
Allison is also accused of using the company's card to pay bills for Blanchford Landscaping, where she also worked as a bookkeeper, and then reimbursed herself from Blanchford's checking account.
Allison is also accused of opening an account in 2008 in Big Sky Asphalt's name and charging $1,311.90 in expenses to places such as Macy's, Nordstrom, Aeropostale, American Eagle, Babies ‘R Us and Kohl's.
Allison changed the address for the bank statements without permission, rerouting them to her personal residence, and had various accounts combined into one monthly summary, the release states. She reportedly altered the statements by digitally removing the unauthorized charges and adding those amounts onto authorized expenditures for purchases made by Big Sky Asphalt's owners. She then removed her personal address from the bill, replaced it with the company address and gave the statements to owners for review.
Allison was also receiving unemployment benefits from the State of Montana from May 2009 through April 2012, during the same time period that she was embezzling from Big Sky Asphalt, according to the news release.
Sentencing is set for Sept. 13. Allison, who is currently released on conditions, faces possible penalties of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release for each count of wire fraud and 3 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release for aggravated identity theft.