PARKERSBURG - A former bookkeeper for an oil and gas company in Spencer pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Charleston to embezzling more than $800,000 from her employer.
Rosalie J. Seabolt, 59, of Spencer pleaded guilty to mail fraud before Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr., U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said. Seabolt was employed at Kimco Inc. and its related company, Roy G. Hildreth and Son, for more than 25 years, Goodwin said.
During her employment at Kimco, Seabolt eventually became the company's bookkeeper, he said.
"Having nearly a million dollars wiped out of a bank account can create distress for practically any business, but it's especially significant to a small business," Goodwin said. "That's why my office has focused on investigating and prosecuting cases like these, to protect small businesses and to send a clear message that such conduct will not be tolerated in this district."
From Sept. 9, 2000, through Dec. 24, 2012, Seabolt wrote numerous unauthorized checks to herself from Kimco's bank account, Goodwin said. Seabolt deposited and cashed these checks at her personal credit union, he said.
To prevent Kimco from discovering the unauthorized checks, Seabolt misleadingly indicated in Kimco's books the unauthorized checks were made to Hildreth as a business expense, Goodwin said.
From at least 2000 through 2012, Poca Valley Bank mailed monthly bank statements to Kimco that included check images. Seabolt, who was in charge of reviewing the monthly bank statements, altered the statements by covering up the check images that revealed unauthorized checks written to herself, Goodwin said.
She also destroyed portions of original bank statements the company had received from the bank, Goodwin said.
On Jan. 10, Seabolt told police she had defrauded Kimco. In total, Seabolt took $815,693.27 from the company, Goodwin said.
Seabolt faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Sentencing was scheduled for Nov. 21.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI and the West Virginia State Police. Assistant United States Attorney Meredith George Thomas is in charge of the prosecution.
This case is being prosecuted as part of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of West Virginia's Business Protection Initiative. U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin announced the Business Protection Initiative in November 2010.
Business protection is a primary initiative of the U.S. Attorney's Office that focuses on prosecuting individuals who defraud West Virginia businesses.