USA: 5 years for controller who stole from Saint-Gobain Autover

A former controller at the US operation of Saint-Gobain Autover in Columbus, Ohio will spend the next five years in federal prison. Rebecca O. Johnson, 36, pleaded guilty in January 2008 to bank fraud…

A former controller at the US operation of Saint-Gobain Autover in Columbus, Ohio will spend the next five years in federal prison. Rebecca O. Johnson, 36, pleaded guilty in January 2008 to bank fraud, money laundering and filing a false tax return. She worked as the financial officer of Saint-Gobain Autover from November 2005 to August 2006 and admitted stealing more than USD 1.5 million by keeping checks meant for company accounts. “I have a lot of sympathy for your children and stepchildren,” US District Judge Gregory L. Frost said at sentencing on 3 June 2008. “I have no sympathy for you.” The money was used to buy a house, diamond rings, European trips, cars and other items. Judge Frost ordered her to repay USD 1.5 million to the autoglass company and USD 368,667 to the Internal Revenue Service. Saint-Gobain“s current controller, James E. Stanley, testified that the company also sustained a loss of USD 305,966 because of a break-in by Ms. Johnson and her husband in July 2006. Computers with accounting records were stolen. Judge Frost said he thought the break-in was to cover up her theft. If the company can document those losses, he might amend the restitution amount, he said. Ms. Johnson“s attorney, Sam Weiner, called her a compulsive spender. Ms. Johnson apologized in court, saying, “I hope that you“ll understand some of the things that pushed me to make those choices.” To which Judge Frost replied, “I understand one of the things – greed.” He allowed her to remain free until July 2008. Her husband, Michael, pleaded guilty to breaking and entering in state court and is paying restitution, Mr. Weiner said.