ATHENS — The former accountant for several Georgian property companies who admitted stealing more than $600,000 from her employers was sentenced to prison this week for her crimes.
Suzanne Brooks, 41, of Bogart, was sentenced to 46 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $610,857.99 in restitution by U.S. District Judge C. Ashley Royal after previously pleaded guilty to wire fraud. There is no parole in the federal system.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office will pursue prosecution of anyone who uses fraud and deception for their own benefit, which is costly to small businesses and citizens,” U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary said. “Fraud creates a chain reaction of negative consequences for both its victims and the community as a whole. Our office and law enforcement are committed to holding fraudsters accountable for their crimes.
“Brooks violated the trust placed in her by her clients and will now spend time in jail paying for her crimes,” said FBI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Keri Farley. “I hope this sentence sends a message that the FBI is committed to working with our partners to protect our citizens from anyone who seeks to defraud innocent victims for their own personal greed.”
According to court documents, Brooks was an accountant from 2013 to 2018 for two people who owned real estate companies in Georgia. Brooks was entrusted with access to paper checks and online banking login credentials for their businesses at multiple FDIC-insured institutions. Brooks eventually used business bank accounts to make multiple payments against personal credit card balances for her and her husband from various credit card companies, without the victims’ permission.
Brooks used the money to pay for her living expenses, including utilities for her home, insurance payments, restaurants, first class travel, online shopping, retail shopping, fine jewelry and to buy inventory for her side business selling clothes with a multi-level marketing company. . When his personal credit cards developed balances, Brooks repeatedly used victims’ funds to pay off those balances at his discretion and without their authorization. Brooks covered up his theft by falsifying profit and loss statements and other files in the accounting software used by the companies, leading the two victims to believe their businesses were less profitable than they were. in reality.
Brooks also altered bank statements and wrote dozens of unauthorized checks for herself. In total, Brooks caused at least $659,106.38 in expected casualties.
The case was investigated by the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lyndie Freeman prosecuted the case.