Bogart accountant guilty of defrauding clients over $ 650,000
An accountant in Bogart pleaded guilty on Thursday to wire fraud after FBI agents discovered she had stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars of clients’ money to pay for living expenses and luxury items.
Suzanne Brooks, 42, pleaded guilty in Athens US District Court to wire fraud before District Judge C. Ashley Royal. Brooks faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release and a fine of $ 250,000. Sentencing has not been scheduled.
“These small business owners thought their family businesses were less lucrative, when in fact their trusted accountant was crushing part of the profits to pay for his lifestyle,” said Peter D. Leary, acting US attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.
âFraud has a negative ripple effect that too often brings down a small business, leaving people unemployed and destroying years of effort and hard work. Our office, together with our law enforcement partners, will hold fraudsters accountable for their crimes and the damage they cause, âhe said.
According to Chris Hacker, special agent in charge of the FBI Atlanta, âBrooks has violated the trust placed in her by her clients and will now have to pay the price for these actions. The FBI is dedicated to protecting our citizens and will prosecute anyone who defrauds innocent victims for their own greed. “
According to court documents, Brooks was an accountant from 2013 to 2018 for two people who both owned real estate companies in Georgia. Brooks has been given access to paper checks and online banking login credentials for their businesses at several FDIC-insured institutions. Brooks eventually used business bank accounts to make multiple payments on personal credit card balances for her and her husband from various credit card companies, without the permission of the victims. Brooks used the money to pay for her living expenses, including utilities for her home, insurance payments, restaurants, first class travel, online shopping, retail shopping, fine jewelry and to purchase inventory for his parallel tiered clothing business. marketing company. When his personal credit cards developed balances, Brooks repeatedly used victims’ funds to pay off those balances at his discretion and without their permission. Brooks covered up his theft by falsifying profit and loss statements and other files in accounting software used by companies, leading the two victims to believe their companies were less profitable than they were. in reality. Brooks also altered bank statements and wrote himself dozens of unauthorized checks. In total, Brooks caused at least $ 659,106.38 in predicted casualties.