Hartford Woman, Vicki Berka Pleads Guilty To Wire Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme
(STL.News) Richard G. Frohling, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that on September 1, 2022, a Hartford woman pled guilty to executing a multi-million-dollar wire fraud and money laundering scheme. Vicki Berka, (age: 61) pled guilty to one count of wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, and one count of money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1957, for embezzling approximately $2.7 million from her former employer, Bader Rutter & Associates (“Bader”).
According to the plea agreement, Berka admitted to engaging in a scheme to defraud Bader from July 2014 through approximately September 26, 2017. Berka used her position as Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) and her bank account login credentials to make unauthorized ACH transfers from Bader’s health funding account to a bank account she controlled.
Berka then falsified Bader’s general ledger by inflating the company’s reported healthcare expenditures to hide the amount of money she was embezzling. Berka used over $250,000 in stolen proceeds to buy a beach condo in North Carolina.
Berka faces a maximum possible sentence of twenty years in prison for the wire fraud count, and ten years in prison for the money laundering count. Berka also faces fines of up to $250,000 per count and has agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $2.7 million to Bader and its insurance company. Sentencing is scheduled for December 1, 2022, before Judge JP Stadtmueller.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case and it is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Peter Smyczek.
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