Woman sentenced to over 4 years in prison for embezzlement and federal tax evasion

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URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Joan Chenoweth of Tolono was sentenced to 4 years and 4 months in prison on Monday for embezzlement of over $600,000 from her former employer, Illini Contractor Supply, and her failure to pay federal income tax.

Officials said Judge Colin Bruce imposed the 52-month sentence, citing Chenoweth’s lack of concern for others and residual harm to a viable community business. Judge Bruce ordered Chenoweth to pay restitution of $599,152.72 to Illini Contractor Supply, and an additional $159,384 to the Internal Revenue Service. The prosecution had recommended a 52-month sentence of imprisonment, reflecting the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

According to court documents, from 2014 to 2018, Chenoweth had control of Illini Contractor Supply’s financial records as well as the business’s credit cards and bank accounts. She wrote unauthorized vendor checks to herself from Illini Contractor Supply’s bank accounts. She also wrote unauthorized payroll checks to herself that exceeded her salary and used the business’s credit cards to make payments to her credit cards. Chenoweth used her position as an office manager to avoid detection by making false entries in the business’s financial records.

Chenoweth pleaded guilty on May 17 but had remained free on conditions of bond until her sentencing. She needs to begin serving her sentence on October 5. After Chenoweth serves her prison time, she will have three years of supervised release.

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