CFO embezzles $200K from Alabama company to shop on Amazon, buy dog food, feds say

ERIC PAUL ZAMORA/THE FRESNO BEE/Fresno Bee Staff Photo

A chief financial officer in Alabama used her company’s credit cards, payroll and 401(k) match to embezzle hundreds of thousands of dollars over a period of six years to buy household items, write herself checks and pay personal bills, prosecutors say.

In her job at a manufacturing company in Satsuma, Angela Clifton was in charge of the business’ accounting activities, including payroll and 401(k) plans, according to a Sept. 22 news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Alabama. In that role, she also had access to multiple company credit cards.

Investigators say that from 2012 to 2018 Clifton — who also went by Angela Shaw for a period of time — embezzled more than $200,000 from the company in cash and personal items.

That included her using cards to pay her phone bill and make more than $25,000 worth of Amazon purchases for items like dog food and a hair straightener, the indictment and news release say. Clifton, 43, paid some of this money back to the company, federal officials say, but another audit done after she resigned revealed she had also been writing herself bonuses and paychecks and fraudulently receiving 401(k) matches.

Clifton pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud and was sentenced to two years in federal prison followed by a three-year period of supervised release. She will also have to pay full restitution to the company. Her lawyer did not immediately respond to McClatchy News’ request for comment.

In court, the company’s chief executive said Clifton’s actions “not only damaged the company financially, but also severely damaged the culture of trust that once existed in his small business,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Contact information for the company, whose name was not revealed in court, was not immediately available.

Satsuma is about 15 miles north of Mobile.

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