Last updated: August 25. 2013 5:21AM - 424 Views

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TOLEDO — A woman who embezzled $1.3 million from a local business was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison Monday.Mary Sprague-McCourt was sentenced on charges of income tax evasion and mail fraud. She pleaded guilty in January to the charges in U.S. District Court. She was ordered to pay $1.23 million in restitution to Allen Schmidthorst after paying $83,391 prior to her sentencing, an IRS spokesman said. Sprague-McCourt is not in custody and will have to report to prison at a later date.Sprague-McCourt, 53, served as the bookkeeper for AWS Properties in Allen County which owned and operated hotels in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. She worked for the owner of AWS for 34 years. Sprague-McCourt was responsible for processing payroll and paying bills including making payroll tax payments, the IRS reported.Between December 2005 and September 2009, Sprague-McCourt wrote herself 338 unauthorized checks totaling $1.3 million. When payroll taxes were due for AWS, she wrote the tax payment checks drawn on the company’s bank account then entered the check numbers and amounts into the company’s ledger, the IRS reported.Sprague-McCourt, however, did not send the payroll checks to the IRS. Instead, she made the checks payable to herself, drawn on the business account, for the same amounts as the payroll tax payments. She deposited these checks into her personal bank account or into the bank accounts of Allen County Trophy or Kennedy Graphics. She concealed her embezzlement by establishing a post office box in AWS’s name so she could intercept bank statements and IRS correspondence, the IRS reported. She also altered AWS bank statements and falsified account summaries she sent to the company’s outside accounting firm. When the IRS contacted her about the unpaid payroll taxes, she took out an unauthorized business loan in another company’s name that is owned by an AWS owner and used it to pay AWS payroll taxes. She forged the signature of the company owner on the loan application, the IRS reported. You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.

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