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Former Highland accountant sentenced for embezzlement

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HAMMOND — A former Highland accountant has been sentenced to more than two years in prison for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from an undisclosed Highland firm to gamble, courts said. 

Debra McCall, 46, of Westville, was sentenced after pleading guilty to charges of bank fraud and tax evasion, said U.S. Attorney Thomas Kirsch. In November 2019, McCall signed a plea agreement admitting her responsibility for the theft of $708,972.

McCall admitted to courts that after stealing the money she gambled it away, Kirsch said.

“McCall took advantage of her employer’s trust for her own selfishness,” Kirsch said in a news release. “Many small businesses operate on a thin margin and pilfering money from employers could cause severe financial issues, disrupting the lives of many who rely on those businesses for their livelihoods. My office and our federal partners take these crimes seriously and will continue to prosecute schemes like these throughout the district.”

McCall was sentenced to a total of 27 months in prison and two years of supervised release, including six months of home confinement. She was also ordered to pay $708,971.93 in restitution.

The fraud happened over the course of three years following July 14, 2014, when she worked as an accountant for a company in Highland not named in the criminal complaint, court reports showed. 

McCall used her position at the business to create 250 checks made payable to her unnamed boyfriend. To cover her trail, McCall deleted records of her transactions in the company’s account system and forged the signature of another company official, causing the checks appear legitimate.

The IRS and The FBI Criminal Investigation Division investigated the case. 

“As we often see in embezzlement cases, the victims are not only the taxpayers, but also the individuals and entities who suffer the financial harm”, said Kathy Enstrom, special agent in charge at the IRS Criminal Investigation Chicago Field Office. "We would like the taxpayers to take notice that today’s 27-month sentence of Debra McCall resulted in serious prison time because she misused her position of trust at her company by embezzling company funds and failing to report the funds on her income tax return.”

Recent arrests booked into Lake County Jail

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Night Crime/Breaking News Reporter

Anna Ortiz is the breaking news/crime reporter for The Times, covering crime, politics, courts and investigative news. She is a graduate of Ball State University with a major in journalism and minor in anthropology. 219-933-4194, anna.ortiz@nwi.com

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