The U.S. Attorney’s Office has charged a 52-year-old Indianapolis woman with conspiracy to commit wire fraud after authorities say she embezzled $270,000 from WFYI Public Media where she worked as an accounting specialist.
Mindi B. Madison, 52, is scheduled to make an initial appearance in U.S. District Court on Sept. 15.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Madison—who had access to WFYI’s accounting software and handled claims and invoices—worked with an unnamed co-conspirator, who was not an employee of the public television and radio station.
Madison began working at WFYI in January 2018. In a statement WFYI said it became aware of unauthorized financial transactions in 2020.
“Steps were immediately taken to prevent any further transactions, and the matter was reported to the appropriate authorities, leading to the court filing” on Thursday, the WFYI statement said. “Since the organization maintains business insurance coverage, there was no financial impact to WFYI.”
The organization declined to answer additional questions, citing the ongoing investigation.
IBJ could not immediately reach Madison. Court filings listed her attorney as Kenneth Riggins, who did not immediately respond to a phone message. According to an email response, he is out of the office through Sept. 14.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Madison “abused her position of trust and presented at least 156 fake claims and invoices for payment” in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Madison did not have signing authority on checks, court records said. Instead, she would prepare checks for signature and present those who did have the authority. She was then charged with distributing the checks.
The U.S. attorney’s statement said Madison falsified invoices using versions of her co-conspirator’s name and business. The co-conspirator would deposit the checks into his or her own account and then withdraw a portion of the money to give to Madison.
“They split the illegal proceeds,” the U.S Attorney’s Office said. “Both Madison and Individual 1 used WFYI’s stolen funds for their own personal expenditures including but not limited to, rent, restaurants, groceries, fuel, and utilities. In total, Madison embezzled approximately $270,876 from WFYI before her theft was discovered.”
If convicted, Madison faces up to 20 years in federal prison.•