Seattle woman sentenced to prison for embezzling over $150k from local company

SEATTLE — A Seattle woman who was employed as a contract bookkeeper and accountant for a high-end mountain bike company has been sentenced to 28 months in prison for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

According to records filed in the case, Joan C. Trower worked for the company for nearly three years starting in July 2015. Her contract was terminated in May 2018 when the embezzlement was discovered.

Trower managed to steal over $150,000 from company accounts.

In the sentencing memo, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Drher described Trower’s scheme as “elaborate, sophisticated, and longstanding.”

While most employees received at most three checks per month, Trower wrote as many as 13 checks to herself in one month, according to the U.S attorney’s office.

Trower would also put false descriptions in the memo line, sometimes falsely claiming the funds were to reimburse her for an outside tax accounting firm she claimed to have hired, and transfer money from company accounts to accounts she controlled.

Trower and her boyfriend used the money to, among other things, gamble at area casinos.

At the sentencing hearing, Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez said that it is part of the court’s “job to protect the community, especially small businesses such as the victim in this case.”

Trower is now obligated to pay $168,597 in restitution to the mountain bike company.