The 48-year-old former bookkeeper for two Windermere Real Estate franchises in Pierce County was convicted by a jury today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma on six counts of wire fraud related to her embezzlement scheme.
U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes says Cindi Allison, now of Ben Wheeler, Texas, used her unfettered access to the bank accounts of Windermere Puyallup and Windermere South Sound to embezzle $478,398 back in 2015. She was remanded to custody following the verdict this morning and will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton in October 6.
Prosecutors presented evidence that Allison transferred money from Windermere accounts to her own bank accounts and those of her boyfriend, ex-husband, and service providers. Between 2011 and 2015, she made 782 unauthorized transfers from the two real estate franchise accounts to 16 different accounts that all had some connection to her.
As the bookkeeper, Allison made various entries in the records to make the transfers appear legitimate. The fraud came to light in March 2015, when the owner of the two franchises decided to sell because the company was not generating enough income compared to expenses. The purchaser started investigating some of the transfers and could not get straight answers from the bookkeeper.
Allison had been working remotely from Texas as the bookkeeper, and the company subsequently shut down the computer system to protect its accounts.
U.S. Secret Service began investigating the wire fraud in August 2015. When questioned, Allison claimed she had embezzled the money to support her boyfriend’s drug habit.