Jennifer Durham, an employee of the Rapid City Rush, a professional hockey team in South Dakota, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion for embezzling $700,000.00 from the organization.
While employed as the team’s office manager between 2010 and 2019, Durham falsified entries into accounting records to make it appear that the money she was stealing was spent on legitimate business expenses.
Durham paid herself $87,000.00 in mileage reimbursement and sales commissions, transferred nearly $285,000.00 from the team’s bank account to pay her American Express bill and transferred another $181,000.00 to her personal bank account. Durham also admitted to taking $214,971.00 in cash receipts to use for personal expenses and made payments totaling $7,712.00 to cover her family’s cell phone bill. She did not report the additional income to the IRS, causing a tax loss of $186,277 to the federal government.
The investigation began when new team owners discovered, “Inconsistencies and irregularities with regard to some bookkeeping handled by a single former employee.”
As part of the plea agreement, Durham must pay restitution to the team totaling $700,000.00 and the IRS $186,277.00. She faces up to 45 years in prison.