Fishers bookkeeper sentenced for embezzlement after 8 years on lam

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A former bookkeeper who spent eight years on the lam after embezzling more than $2.2 million from a Fishers company has been sentenced to 7½ years in federal prison, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

Jody Russell Trapp, 58, received a 90-month sentence from Chief Judge Tanya Walton Pratt in Indianapolis after pleading guilty to wire fraud, money laundering and tax evasion in July.

Trapp worked for Shelton Machinery Inc., a Fishers-based distributor of drill-tap machines, production saws and band saws, from July 2009 through December 2011. His duties included overseeing the preparation and mailing of checks to outside vendors.

According to investigators, two months after he was hired, Trapp began diverting checks made payable to one of Shelton Machinery’s suppliers into his personal bank account. To conceal the theft, he prepared fictitious or duplicate invoices for work that had already been billed and paid, as well as checks to pay the fictitious or duplicate invoices.

Trapp was arrested in January 2012 and agreed to plead guilty to his crimes, but he disappeared less than two weeks before a sentencing hearing scheduled for March 7, 2013, despite being ordered to stay in his residence.

In 2021, deputy U.S. Marshals located Trapp living in Orem, Utah, under the name Abram Hochstelter and working as an electrician. He was known in Utah for dressing up as “Admiral Abram the Pirate” to promote a treasure hunting app he co-developed.

Trapp was arrested in October 2021 and transported back to Indiana to face the still-pending charges. He pleaded guilty to the charges on July 19.

Pratt also sentenced Trapp to three years on probation after his release from federal prison and ordered him to pay $2.53 million in restitution.

“Mr. Trapp has finally been held accountable for stealing millions of dollars from a company that trusted him and fleeing in an attempt to avoid the consequences,” said U.S. Attorney Zachary Myers in written remarks. “The punishment imposed today demonstrates that those who try to obstruct and evade justice will ultimately be held accountable.

Myers praised the U.S. Marshals, FBI and the IRS Criminal Investigation office for their work on the case.

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