Business owner pleads guilty to theft

An area business owner has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of theft from an employee benefit fund, U.S. Attorney Tom Beall said today.

Brenda Wood, 48, Leavenworth, Kan., pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of theft from an employee benefit program. In her plea, she admitted the crime occurred while she was owner of PCI, a building cleaning service, and CDM, a construction and property management service.

She set up a 401K plan, encouraged PCI and CDM employees to participate and began withholding employee contributions.

In 2011, employees learned that no contributions had been deposited in their accounts. Wood falsely assured employees that their funds were being held in escrow. In fact, she used their contributions for her own benefit and without their permission.

Sentencing is set for Oct. 24. She faces up to five years in federal prison and restitution.

A separate trial is set for Dec. 5 on 21 other counts including bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, wire fraud and committing a felony while on supervised release.

Beall commended the Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, the Special Investigator General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration, the FBI and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jabari Wamble for their work on the case.


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