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Former CFO sentenced to prison for tax evasion, embezzlement

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The former chief financial officer of a Louisville, Kentucky, insurance company was sentenced to 37 months in prison for tax evasion and embezzlement, the U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday.

Russell Coleman, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, said in a statement that Sylvia Rebecca Smith, 63, of Louisville, was charged with one count of wire fraud and two counts of failing to report embezzled funds as income on her tax returns. Ms. Smith agreed to pay over a half-million dollars in restitution.

Ms. Smith embezzled from her employer, Market Finders Insurance Corp., and a subsidiary, Market Finders Premium Budget Corp., and diverted the funds to PBS Insurance Underwriting Corp., where she was bookkeeper and her husband was sole owner.

She created fraudulent insurance financing contracts between Market Finders Premium Budget and existing insurance clients of PBS Insurance, Mr. Coleman said, without the knowledge of those clients. Ms. Smith admitted manipulating the records so her theft of funds would not be detected by her employer.

Ms. Smith admitted she and her husband used a portion of the fraudulent loan proceeds to fund her husband’s business and to pay for personal expenses for herself and her husband and to pay for gambling.

In addition, Ms. Smith used a portion of the proceeds to make payments on the previous loans she had falsely created from Market Finders Premium Budget. When the scheme was discovered by Market Finders, Ms. Smith had not repaid about $674,093.

She also admitted to failing to report about $258,504 in embezzled funds as income for tax year 2013 and omitted roughly $514,696 in embezzled funds as income for tax year 2014 on her tax return.