NASHVILLE, Tenn. – April 30, 2019 – Barbara Butler, 59, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, pleaded guilty last week to wire fraud and tax evasion, after embezzling more than $1.8 million from her employer, announced U.S. Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee.
Butler, the comptroller for D.S. Collaborative in Brentwood, Tennessee, was charged in a criminal information on April 5, 2019, and pleaded guilty to the charges on April 25, 2019.
According to documents filed with the court, Butler had been the comptroller for D.S. Collaborative for over 20 years and was responsible for all of the company’s financial affairs. Between December 2009 and July 2016, Butler wrote company checks to herself and used the company’s credit cards for personal use and for the use of her family members, without the knowledge or approval of the company’s owners. Butler also opened a company Costco credit card in the name of a family member and permitted that family member to use the card for personal use. In another instance, in March 2015, Butler used a company credit card to make a purchase from Jared Galleria Jewelry in Franklin, Tennessee, in the amount of $11,774.96. During the course of the scheme, Butler embezzled more than $1.8 million from the company.
In 2016, after learning that the company was subjected to an IRS audit, Butler provided false financial documents to the IRS auditor in an attempt to conceal the fact that she had written company checks to herself, and she altered general ledgers to make it appears as though the checks were written to legitimate vendors. During tax years 2010-2015, Butler failed to report to the IRS the income resulting from the embezzlement and caused a tax loss of $521,207.
According to the terms of the plea agreement, Butler faces up to 25 years in prison and will have to pay restitution. Butler also agrees to forfeit the contents from several bank accounts and proceeds from the sale of a house.
This case was investigated by the IRS-Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Booth is prosecuting the case.