An Indianapolis woman has received a 16-month sentence in federal prison for embezzling more than $400,000 from JP Morgan Chase in a scheme that lasted eight years.
Tami Riggles, 46, a Chase employee from 1996 to 2013, led efforts to finance inventory for car dealers, ensure proper financing and fix errors related to automatic transactions.
Federal District Court Judge William T. Lawrence issued the sentence May 22 after Riggles accepted a plea agreement. She will serve two years of supervised release after her prison sentence.
Riggles routinely moved money between accounts related to at least 700 car dealerships, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Indiana said in a statement.
Sometimes dealers needed to move money from Indiana to an out-of-state account, in which case a blank general ledger form called a ticket was used. The money had to move through the income account to keep the internal Chase systems in sync, according to court documents. These sort of transactions were routine.
Since 2005, Riggles had been creating false tickets that dumped between $8,000 to $16,000 per month into her personal checking account. It wasn’t until June 10, 2013, that Riggles’ scheme was discovered inadvertently by another employee.
An error occurred with one of Riggles’ tickets as a result of an incorrect account number. Normally the bank contacted Riggles, but in this case Riggles was out of the office. Instead another employee was contacted.
The employee noticed the ticket appeared to be prepared by a B. Moxley, an individual no longer employed by Chase. The employee determined that the money was being deposited into Riggles’ personal checking account, also noting numerous similar credits.
Bank officials suspended Riggles the following day. A deeper look into the case revealed hundreds of credits to her account by false tickets. Chase determined the loss to be $458,391.
Riggles used the embezzled money to “elevate her lifestyle which included expenditures to numerous retail outlets, restaurants, credit cards, and an online dating site,” according to the press release.
In a plea agreement with the federal court, Riggles also admitted to an additional theft from the Franklin Township Youth Basketball league amounting to $6,450, according to court documents.
From 2009 to 2011, Riggles’ account with her husband received several deposited checks from the youth sports league for basketball fees.
Tim Horty, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said Riggles would serve at least 85 percent of her sentence followed by two years of supervised release.