The former office manager for a Kansas City area architectural firm pleaded guilty Tuesday to embezzling more than $5 million from the company.
Jane Barnes, 53, of Lee’s Summit, started working for ACI Boland Architects in 1998 and had been the firm’s office manager from 2008 until she resigned in March, federal prosecutors said.
She pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Kansas City to charges of wire fraud, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.
According to prosecutors, Barnes engaged in two separate fraud schemes while working for the company.
In the first, she used the payroll system to pay herself amounts of money in excess of her authorized salary and bonus pay.
In her plea, Barnes admitted she embezzled at least $1,622,078 in that way from at least 2006 until 2011.
The second scheme involved Barnes issuing 359 unauthorized payroll checks to herself totaling $3,671,222.
She signed the checks with the forged signature of one of the company’s officials and deposited them in her personal account.
Those payments were not recorded on her W-2 forms, and no taxes were deducted from the checks.
That scheme lasted from 2010 until she resigned in March, prosecutors said.
Investigators have determined that Barnes used the embezzled money for a variety of reasons including: $1,969,210 in credit card payments; $770,393 in transfers to relatives; $425,493 for entertainment, retail purchases and travel; and $424,945 for vehicles and vehicle expenses.
As part of Tuesday’s plea agreement, Barnes must forfeit $5,293,300, and a 2014 Ford F-150 Crew Cab Raptor, a 2014 Ford Explorer Utility 4D Sport and a 2013 Lincoln MKS.
A sentencing date has not been set.