An Indianapolis woman who embezzled nearly $540,000 from a company where she worked as controller and office manager for seven years has been sentenced to 37 months in federal prison.
Kenya Dake, 51, also was sentenced to three years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt, the U.S. Attorney’s office announced Thursday.
In her guilty plea, Dake admitted to funneling company funds to herself by connecting her personal bank accounts to fictitious vendors she created in her company’s bookkeeping system.
She used the funds to pay for a new Honda CRV from Penske Honda, jewelry and at least eight trips to a resort in Aruba.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office did not identify Dake’s employer by name, but public records show she worked for Indianapolis-based business consulting firm Thomas P. Miller & Associates LLC from 2012 to 2019.
Dake, who also used the last names Bennett and Beesley, made an annual salary of $80,000, according to court papers.
Her embezzlement scheme was discovered late last year during an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshal’s Service and Internal Revenue Service that included a search of her residence.
Investigators determined Dake had been stealing from her employer since at least 2015 and possibly as early as 2013. Her initial thefts were for a few hundred dollars every few months but grew to nearly $20,000 a month by mid-2017.
The Honda that she purchased with the money in 2019 cost nearly $33,000. The trips she took to Aruba from 2017 to 2019 cost up to $2,000 each.
She also spent nearly $10,000 on platinum jewelry from Brilliant Earth LLC in June 2019 and purchased a $50,000 certificate of deposit from JP Morgan Chase Bank in February 2019.
Federal agents were able to seize the SUV, much of the jewelry, and more than $50,000 from two different bank accounts. Dake was ordered to repay the rest of the money she stole as part of her sentence.
According to court documents, the company’s owner told investigators that Dake had total control the firm’s financial books and records, which allowed her to conceal her crimes for so long. She was responsible for paying vendors, processing payroll and managing accounts.
The owner said Dake even updated company financials while she was on vacation.
“Through her embezzlement, Ms. Dake took advantage of her position and her employer’s trust for her own personal criminal gain,” FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Middleton said in written remarks. “Theft such as this is unacceptable, and today’s sentence clearly shows that cooking the books never pays off in the long run.”