A Connecticut worker is facing up to five years in prison after her unusual bartering system caught the eyes of her employer and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Prosecutors say that Patricia Ellis of Monroe defrauded Stevenson Lumber Company by accepting illegal drugs in exchange for reducing a customer's outstanding bills.
Ellis was the manager of the credit and collections department at Stevenson, and her responsibilities included managing accounts receivables and determining how customer payments were to be applied. During this time, Ellis agreed with a customer to defraud Stevenson by accepting illegal narcotics from the customer and making it appear in Stevenson's records that this customer had paid his outstanding bill, prosecutors say.
In addition, Ellis used her position at Stevenson to accept illegal narcotics and cash in exchange for providing her co-conspirator and other customers with unauthorized discounts and/or free merchandise, prosecutors say.
She has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud arising from the scheme. In pleading guilty, Ellis admitted that she accepted narcotics and cash in exchange for conferring benefits on her coconspirator and other customers that had a value of at least $120,000.
A judge has scheduled sentencing for March 12, 2007, at which time Ellis faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.
Source: Department of Justice