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Crowley woman sentenced to prison, ordered to pay restitution in theft from former employer

Posted at 12:55 PM, Aug 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-07 13:55:30-04

A Crowley woman has been sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay restitution for stealing nearly $150,000 from her former employer.

38-year-old Otavia L. Lewis of Crowley was sentenced Monday and ordered to pay full restitution in the amount of $148,735.28 for stealing from her former employer, Apex Equipment Inc, , United States Attorney David C. Joseph.

Lewis pled guilty on May 1, 2019 to wire fraud.

According to admissions made as part of her guilty plea and documents filed in court, Lewis was employed as the office manager and bookkeeper for Apex Equipment Inc., a privately-held company located in Crowley. As bookkeeper, Lewis was responsible for initiating direct deposits of Apex employees’ paychecks into their respective bank accounts. Lewis used her position and access to the company’s accounting software between May 2014 and May 2016 to defraud Apex out of $148,735.28.

As part of the scheme, Lewis used Quickbooks’ direct deposit feature to transfer funds from Apex’s bank account to bank accounts and prepaid debit cards controlled by herself and others, and concealed her fraud in Quickbooks by using other employees’ names to make the transfers.