Woman accused of embezzling thousands from Platte City HOA

A Strafford, Mo. woman faces one felony count of forgery stealing and one felony count of identity theft after her employees noticed discrepancies on their financial ledgers. Carmen L. Foley, 32, was arrested in early April for allegedly embezzling nearly $60,000 from the Emprize Group LLC, a management/accounting firm in charge of the bank account for High Pointe Owners Association in Platte City.

Officials for Emprize believe a series of fraudulent transactions took place while Foley worked for the company from June 15, 2015 until she quit Feb. 19, 2016.

According to court documents, Emprize contacted the Platte City Police Department in early March after discovering inconsistencies in the ledger. Officials with the company talked to Foley about the problems in February, and soon after, she quit, saying she needed to help take care of her husband’s ill mother.

Emprize told police that they found 32 checks on the High Pointe Owners Association account at a local bank that appeared to be fraudulent. There were 13 more on the company’s account at another bank believed to be used to steal funds to put into the High Pointe account to try and cover up the imbalances. 

The checks started July 21, 2015 on a check Foley’s boyfriend cashed. 

The checks in question ranged from $172.69 to $4,000 with the last one written on Feb. 17, 2016 – two days before Foley’s final day on the job. The checks from the High Pointe account would be written out to Foley or her boyfriend and then altered in company records to show a local company as the payee.  

“Embezzlement is a particularly disturbing crime,” said Eric Zahnd, Platte County prosecuting attorney, “because it always involves a violation of trust between an employer and an employee.” 

The accounting manager at Emprize believed that Foley had made checks out to herself, and when the bank statements would come in, Foley would white out her own name and write in a valid payee. Then, Foley would allegedly copy each of the altered checks and create fake invoices for each of the forged checks.

The accounting manager further claimed that Foley had also forged an additional 13 checks on the company’s bank account, which she deposited into the original fund that she had stolen money from in an attempt to cover any shortfalls. The 13 checks Foley allegedly wrote for this purpose totaled $16,797.46.

According to court documents, video footage shows Foley presenting a check to a bank teller Dec. 31, 2015. The check was made out to Foley and endorsed by her, and she is seen receiving cash and counting the money.

Emprize’s copy of that same check had been altered to list a lawn care service, not Foley, as the payee, according to police records.

Investigators interviewed Foley by phone March 31.

According to police records, Foley admitted to writing and cashing the checks in question; however, she estimated having written 10 to 15, and according to court documents, expressed surprise when given the actual number.

Foley further admitted that she had known at the time that such acts were illegal, although she claimed her boyfriend, who had cashed two checks, was not aware of their legality of his actions. The boyfriend has not been charged with any crimes at this time.