On Wednesday, Lisa Popewiny, 55, pleaded guilty in federal court for helping con a trucking company out of $920,000 while working as a payroll clerk.
— DV Passaic County (@DVPassaic) September 20, 2017
She pleaded guilty to wire fraud and faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of at least $250,000, according to acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick.
She was falsifying payroll records from June of 2012 to April of 2015.
NJ.com reported the total amount taken from the trucking company was $920,380.
Popewiny, of Clifton, New Jersey, worked at Clifford B. Finkle Jr. Inc. when she began her scheme. “Clifford B. Finkle Jr. Inc. has been providing transportation and sorting solutions to the United States Postal Service since 1957,” according to their website.
Popewiny would generate fraudulent checks tied to her brothers’ personal identifying information payable to non-existent employees.
Her 3 co-defendant brothers, Miguel Vidal, Angel D. Vidal, and Angel Gabriel Vidal, previously pleaded guilty for their roles in this con.
They not only pleaded guilty but also agreed to testify against their sister in federal court in exchange for leniency at sentencing.
According to South Passaic, “all said they allowed [their sister] to use their personal identifying information to generate bogus paychecks from Clifford B. Finkle Jr. Inc.”
Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick added, “The trio then converted the checks, many of which were deposited into their bank accounts and then funneled out of the accounts in cash.”
Miguel Vidal also pleaded guilty to recruiting more people to add to the fraudulent payroll.
By the end, at least 12 non-employees were being issued checks from Clifford B. Finkle Jr. Inc.
Popewiny might have continued her fraudulent acts if the owners of the company were not making efforts to investigate suspected fraud.
The owners distributed the payroll checks – a job normally done by Popewiny.
When all actual checks had been claimed, the many unclaimed checks clearly indicated fraud.