Powell woman pleads guilty to fraud in district court

Staff Report

A Powell woman has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to wire fraud and money laundering in connection with the theft of more than 600 items, collectively worth more than half a million dollars.

Cheryl L. Emerson-Chase, 52, of Powell, pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to one charge of wire fraud and one charge of money laundering.

According to the statement of facts presented in this case, Emerson-Chase was employed as the operations manager for PCM Inc. (formerly known as SARCOM Inc.), a direct marketer of technology products, services and solutions to businesses, governments, educational institutions and individual consumers.

Emerson-Chase was assigned primarily PCM’s account for Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. and handled the day-to-day operational sales relationship with Nationwide.

Emerson-Chase began to steal laptops and tablets from PCM that were intended for delivery to Nationwide and provided fictitious purchase orders to PCM’s employees, instructing them to create false internal sales orders in PCM’s computer system. The two companies identified at least 93 fake purchase orders created in connection with the scheme.

Emerson-Chase then used the ordered computers for her own use or the use of friends and family members, sold them directly to third parties, or delivered them to an associate to sell to third parties.

In total, Emerson-Chase stole more than 600 items of computer hardware, having an aggregate value of nearly $597,000.

Wire fraud and money laundering are each crimes punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

The plea was entered before U.S. District Magistrate Judge Smith Terence P. Kemp.

Staff Report

Information in this story was provided by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Information in this story was provided by the U.S. Department of Justice.