Tennessee Woman Accused of Wire Fraud, Embezzling from Employer, Millwork CompanyNovember 30th, 2021 by Brigid O'Leary
The former bookkeeper of a Tennessee millwork company was arrested earlier this month and is facing wire fraud and identity theft charges in U.S. District Court. Starting in February 2019, Kimberly Hodge, also known as Kimberly Hughen, allegedly used her role as bookkeeper at Integrity Architectural Millwork to divert money from her employer’s accounts to her own personal accounts at the same bank, recording the transactions as payments to legitimate vendors within the company record keeping software.
Hodge is also facing accusations of skimming money from her employer via the company credit card, using a third-party payment company that facilitates credit card payments between businesses and vendors. The allegation is that Hodge created an account with the third-party under names of established vendors with whom Integrity did business, but entered her own bank account information. According to the indictment, dated November 15, doing so allowed her to use the third-party to charge Integrity’s credit card with “legitimate vendors’ names, but had those payments routed to her bank account.”
The indictment continues, alleging that to cover her tracks, “Hodge applied for a $150,000 loan at WebBank (serviced through Can Capital Inc.)” using the name of the company owner and president, without his permission or knowledge, and forged his electronic signature on the application paperwork. “Hodge then deposited the proceeds of that loan into the Integrity Operating Account and caused daily loan repayments to Can Capital to be auto-drafted out of the” same account.
In April 2020, “Integrity applied for and received a PPP loan in the amount of $127,447” with the intention of using the money for employee salaries and business expenses during the COVID pandemic, according to the court document, but “[b]ecause Hodge had made payments from the bank accounts to herself … the balance on Integrity’s Operating Account … had an overdraft $18.09.” The indictment then alleges that Hodge transferred funds from the personal bank account of Integrity’s owner, as well as from the the company’s PPP account, into the Operating Account in a bid to conceal her previous actions. Hodge is accused of continuing the “transfer of funds from the PPP Account throughout the month of May 2020 to conceal the fraud.”
Hodge’s alleged actions were discovered on May 21, 2020 and Hodge was fired, though according to the indictment she “continued to attempt to make fraudulent purchases using Integrity’s credit card.”
In addition to the three counts of wire fraud, which amounts to more than $200,000, the indictment includes a Grand Jury charge for Hodge’s actions in applying for the loan from WebBank, as she “knowingly use[d], without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person,” specifically, the owner and president of Integrity Architectural Millwork, “that is, his name, Tennessee driver’s license, and forged electronic signature, during and in relation to a felony violation enumerated in 18 U.S.C. § 1028A(c), to wit, wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, knowing that the means of identification belonged to another actual person.”
Hodge surrendered to the FBI on Thursday, November 18, 2021.
Stay tuned to [DWM] for more information on this case as it develops.