Mounds woman faces federal charges of credit card fraud
BY DAVID HARPER World Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
A Mounds woman has been charged with illegally using credit cards belonging to her then-employer to make more than $177,000 in fraudulent charges.
Christie Lea Gauthier, 39, is charged in a grand jury indictment in Tulsa federal court.
Gauthier is charged with making more than $133,000 worth of unauthorized purchases from April 20, 2011, until Nov. 3, 2011, on a Chase corporate credit card and more than $44,000 in fraudulent purchases on another credit card from Dec. 5, 2009, until Dec. 12, 2011.
Gauthier is believed to have committed the crimes while she worked as an accounts payable clerk at Western Filter Co. Inc. in Tulsa, Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles McLoughlin said.
In connection with the count involving $133,054, Gauthier is suspected of converting into her own name a company credit card that had been issued to the organization's auditor, who had to miss work for an extended length of time due to illness, McLoughlin said.
In relation to the second count involving more than $44,000, she is suspected of having an account that belonged to a former employee converted to her name, he said.
Gauthier is believed to have spent a large amount of the funds to generate money to purchase oxycodone, with lesser amounts going to buy furniture and make routine household purchases, McLoughlin said.
Chase employees noticed irregular activity connected to the accounts, he said.
In addition to the $177,800 mentioned in the indictment, investigators have detected about $15,000 in other fraudulent purchases that they believe are attributable to Gauthier, McLoughlin said.
Under federal sentencing guidelines, Gauthier could face between 21 and 27 months in prison if convicted at trial or 15 to 21 months in custody if she opts to plead guilty, he said.