Former Lilbourn woman pleads guilty in embezzlement scheme

Friday, May 28, 2004

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- A woman has pleaded guilty to embezzling $1.8 million from her southeast Missouri employer.

Andrea Buchanan, 46, of Kansas City and formerly of the southeast Missouri town Lilbourn, pleaded guilty Thursday to federal felony counts of passing forged securities and making false statements on tax returns. Sentencing will be Aug. 26.

Buchanan worked in the payroll office at Plastene Supply Co. in Portageville, a division of Seigel-Roberts Inc., from 1978 to February 2002.

From 1998 through 2001, Buchanan created more than 1,200 fraudulent vacation payroll checks payable to employees of the company, then forged the employees' signatures, signed her own name as the second endorsee and cashed the checks, U.S. Attorney Ray Gruender said.

Buchanan was able to cash the fraudulent checks without arousing the bank's suspicions by claiming she was cashing the checks as a favor to employees, Gruender said.

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