A 75-year-old woman from Lynnwood who worked as a contract accountant was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Seattle to six months in prison and one year of home detention, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Western Washington.
Over seven years, Judith Wright stole nearly $300,000 from Transportation Demand Management LLC (TDM), a Washington state passenger transportation company. This is Wrights second conviction for embezzling. In 1994, she was sentenced to a year and a day in prison for embezzling from the bank where she served as chief financial officer.
At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones noted Wright’s prior conviction saying, “Even with the passage of time, you have little respect for the law.” Jones said Wright had violated the trust of her employer and deprived others of money that could have changed their lives.
According to records filed in the case, between February 2010 and January 2017, Wright wrote some 120 fraudulent checks to herself and then disguised the payments in company books as if they were made to legitimate vendors. The fraud came to light when a new chief financial officer at the company began questioning some of the entries. An FBI analysis of the accounts revealed that much of the money was clearly used for non-business expenses such as more than $78,000 in payments to Nordstrom, more than $17,000 spent with QVC (the home shopping network) and more than $20,000 spent at Costco.
This is the second time Wright has been sentenced for a similar embezzlement scheme. In 1994, she wrote unauthorized checks at the bank where she worked to pay her credit card bills. In that case, the total theft was $45,000.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Wright will pay $298,737 in restitution to her former employer.
The case was investigated by the FBI.