Ex-office manager to plead guilty to taking $2.1M

EDINBURGH — The former office manager of a central Indiana manufacturing company will plead guilty to federal charges that she embezzled $2.1 million from the business over a six-year period.

Federal court records show that Gail Greathouse, 57, of Elizabethtown agreed to plead guilty to charges of wire fraud and filing false tax returns. Federal prosecutors announced Thursday that she had been charged with illegally writing checks and transferring money from LB Molds of Edinburgh to pay her credit card bills, a relative's college tuition and other expenses.

Greathouse has been the town clerk-treasurer of the 500-person community of Elizabethtown in Bartholomew County since 1993, The Republic of Columbus reported. She's not charged with taking money from the town, but under state law she would be automatically removed from office once a judge accepts her guilty plea.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 25 in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis. A message seeking comment was left Friday by The Associated Press for her defense attorney, Stephen Dillon of Indianapolis.

LB Mold, which makes molds for automotive rims, had employed Greathouse for 13 years before dismissing her in 2010. She was not authorized to sign company checks except in cases of emergency but had been responsible for the company's accounting, according to court documents.

Investigators found that Greathouse embezzled the money from 2005 into 2010, prosecutors said.

"It's not unusual for long-term employees to obtain positions of trust within a company," U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett said. "Had checks and balances been in place, the unauthorized expenditures she had been making could have been detected sooner."

LB Mold has sued Greathouse in Bartholomew County court, seeking repayment. A message seeking comment was left Friday for company attorney Arend Abel of Indianapolis.

Prosecutors said Greathouse faces a maximum 20-year prison sentence on each of the six counts of wire fraud and up to three years in prison on the false income tax return charge.

Greathouse still has been Elizabethtown's town clerk-treasurer during the investigation, Town Councilman Fred Barnett said. However, the State Board of Accounts has been asked to review the town's finances for 2011 and 2012, he said, even though the council members have no reason to suspect wrongdoing.

"Just to be safe," Barnett said. "I'm not an accountant."

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