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Aurora woman to be sentenced for embezzlement

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An Aurora woman could be sentenced to up to 23 years in prison after pleading guilty yesterday to mail fraud and filing false tax returns as part of a scheme to embezzle more than $250,000 from her employers.

By pleading guilty, Diana Kay Erickson, 46, admitted she embezzled $219,606 from Superior Lifts Inc. Sept. 7, 2006-April 2,2008, and $32,242 from Goolsby Rental Properties March 14, 2006-Dec. 18, 2006. Both businesses, which are now closed, were managed by the same owners, according to a news release from Beth Phillips, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

Erickson was employed in 2006 as a bookkeeper at Superior Lifts, which was started in Aurora in 2004 and relocated to Nixa in 2009. The company sold automobile lifts and other products. She also performed bookkeeping duties for Goolsby Rental Properties, which managed properties in the Wichita, Kan., area.

While working at the companies, Erickson on several occasions deposited customer payments - in the form of mailed bank checks - into her own personal bank account. Erickson also admitted to filing false tax returns for 2006, 2007 and 2008, which showed no trace of of the income she embezzled from Superior Lifts and Goolsby Rental Properties. The false tax returns led to a tax loss to the government of $57,801, not including penalties and interest, according to the release.

In addition to a federal prison sentence, Erickson could be fined up to $350,000 and ordered to pay restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled following the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office, the release said.

The case is being prosecuted by Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Oliver and was investigated by the FBI, Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation, the Aurora Police Department and the Lawrence County prosecuting attorney’s office.[[In-content Ad]]

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