Earlier this week, a Houston bookkeeper pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $1.7 million from a family whose finances she managed.
Gwendolyn M. Berry reportedly agreed to plead guilty to 12 counts of mail and wire fraud, as well as four counts of filing a false tax return.
According to court documents, Berry embezzled more than $1.7 million from September 2008 to October 1, 2014, admitting she stole the money from a family whose accounts she managed, including from an education fund set aside for the family’s children.
Berry also admitted to falsifying information on her tax returns from 2011 to 2014, reportedly understating her income by omitting some sources, allowing her to knowingly falsely claim a refund.
Berry’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 4, where prosecutors say she could face up to 20 years in federal prison on each of the fraud counts, and three years for each tax return charge.
Records show she is currently out on bail pending the sentencing hearing.
In addition to the criminal charges, Berry is also barred from working for any certified financial institution in any category:
In May 2016, Berry became permanently barred from working with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member firm after refusing to cooperate in another embezzlement investigation.
Berry reportedly worked for Houston-based Next Financial Group, Inc., as a bookkeeper for a stockbroker.
A FINRA investigation alleged Berry’s involvement in misappropriating funds from the broker’s client accounts, ultimately resulting in her termination from Next Financial in October 2015.
When FINRA asked Berry for documentation related to the allegations, her attorney acknowledged receiving the request, but reportedly refused to comply.
FINRA then banned Berry from working with any FINRA-member firm.
This is a developing story.