Kansas City woman is indicted in $3 million fraud scheme

07/01/2014 5:03 PM

07/01/2014 5:27 PM

A federal grand jury indictment unsealed Tuesday alleges that a Kansas City woman embezzled her employer into bankruptcy.

The indictment says Irene Marie Brooner embezzled nearly $3 million while working for Galvmet Inc., a sheet metal fabrication and steel service company that filed for bankruptcy and closed earlier this year. The company lost close to $2 million and a bank lost $1.1 million, according to the indictment.

Brooner, 52, the company’s controller, allegedly engaged in the fraud scheme for a decade, deposited company money in her personal accounts and lavishly spent money for personal use.

Among the purchases detailed in the indictment were $289,290 toward her home mortgage, more than $81,000 on jewelry, $97,180 on restaurants, $59,571 for spa visits and beauty items, and $62,000 on travel.

She also allegedly spent some of the money to remodel and stock an elaborate basement bar in her home that she called “The Dirty Duck.” The bar was decorated with mannequins outfitted with World War II uniforms and weapons, including a Thompson submachine gun and M1 Garand rifles.

Brooner made her initial appearance Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Kansas City. The indictment charges her with five counts of wire fraud, three counts of bank fraud and three counts of money laundering. It also seeks a judgment against her of at least $2,963,914.

To reach Tony Rizzo, call 816-234-4435 or send email to trizzo@kcstar.com.

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