Georgia bookkeeper guilty of defrauding small business clients of $650k to fund a ‘lavish lifestyle’

check fraud_98571

ATHENS, Ga. (WRBL) – One Georgia bookkeeper has pleaded guilty to wire fraud.

FBI investigators found Suzanne Brooks, 42, of Bogart, Georgia had stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars from her clients to pay for her own personal credit card balance as well as her husbands various credit accounts, luxury items, and living expenses. Some of the fraudulent purchases include:

  • utilities for her home
  • restaurants
  • first-class travel
  • inventory for her side business
  • insurance payments
  • online shopping
  • fine jewelry
  • her and her husbands various credit card balances

In order to make these payments, Brooks wrote dozens of checks to herself and ultimately stole a total of $659,106.38 from the victims.

To cover her thefts, she Brooks falsified Profit & Loss statements to make the businesses appear not as profitable to hide the stolen money and altered bank statements.

Brooks now faces up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.

Investigations show Brooks was a bookkeeper for six consecutive years, beginning in 2013. She worked for two real estate owners in Georgia and oversaw a multitude of accounts where she had access to checks and online banking for the real estate businesses at multiple FDIC-insured institutions.

Acting U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary shared in a news release the effects Brooks had on the victims and other small businesses.

“These small business owners believed their family companies to be less lucrative, when in fact their trusted bookkeeper was skimming off some of the profit to pay for her lifestyle. Fraud has a negative ripple effect which too often results in the downfall of a small business, leaving people unemployed and destroying years of effort and hard work. Our office, working alongside our law enforcement partners, will hold fraudsters accountable for their crimes and the harm they cause.”

Another FBI agent spoke on the subject of fraud and shared the lengths law enforcement will go to help those victimized.

“Brooks violated the trust placed in her by her clients and will now have to pay the price for those actions,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “The FBI is dedicated to protecting our citizens and will pursue anyone who defrauds innocent victims for their own personal greed.”

The case was investigated by FBI.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Lyndie Freeman prosecuted the case.

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