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Business owner discovers embezzling scheme thanks to computer virus

By William Gayde · 19 replies
Jan 25, 2018
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  1. Raenette Yangson was sentenced to three years in federal prison yesterday after it was discovered that she had embezzled more than $750,000 from her employer. She worked for Western Construction and Equipment in Anchorage, Alaska, and it took a bizarre turn of events to bring her to justice.

    In an interview with Anchorage Daily News, company owner Jeff Light describes how he caught Yangson.

    She worked as a bookkeeper from 2006 to 2013 and court documents show she wrote 405 forged checks to herself and her husband which amounted to $753,000. After writing the checks, she would go into the accounting system and edit them to make it appear as though they were legitimate payments. This went on for years and was not even discovered by IRS audits.

    One day, Light's grandson accidentally installed a virus on his home computer. Since it was also connected to the business network, it had online access to the accounting software. The virus would not let Light sign out of the system which in turn prevented Yangson from using the "single-user" mode. She had been using this to manipulate the books without anyone else noticing.

    Since she was no longer able to edit the payments, she decided to try and balance the books by writing off the discrepancies as a certain type of industry fee. Light discovered these fees and since Yangson had used the wrong type of fee for the time period, he immediately knew something was up and launched an investigation.

    Yangson has been ordered to pay restitution with the amount still to be determined. On top of that, she must also pay the IRS over $200,000 in taxes for the money she stole.

    These subtle financial crimes often go unnoticed unless the criminal makes a mistake. This is one of the few cases where a computer virus ends up doing more good than bad.

    Permalink to story.

  2. J spot

    J spot TS Maniac Posts: 209   +127

    Awesome story.
  3. motrin

    motrin TS Booster Posts: 164   +17

    Lifetime movie material
    dogofwars and lostinlodos like this.
  4. sac39507

    sac39507 TS Addict Posts: 226   +83

    Now someone create a virus to send me free money. I would share with Techspot writers.
  5. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,424   +591

    Lol first and most important rule of being a cyber-criminal scum bag.

    Don't let children use your personal computers and even more a machine that was enabling your little criminal enterprise.

    A guest computer would have prevented all this!
    SirChocula likes this.
  6. quadibloc

    quadibloc TS Enthusiast Posts: 36   +17

    How is she going to make full restitution if she also has to pay taxes on the stolen money? Giving all the money back should take absolute priority - and then, since there is no gain, what is there to pay taxes on?
    senketsu, Tanstar and lostinlodos like this.
  7. wujj123456

    wujj123456 TS Enthusiast Posts: 37   +12

    You didn't read carefully. It's boss' kid installed the virus on boss' computer that prevented the boss from logging out of the accounting software. In turn it prevented the criminal from doing her normal editing in "single-user" mode.
  8. She's a democrat (see: this). She'll probably invent some story about how she was desperate, get some reduced fine and solve it with an asset sale (real estate) or her husband's savings/assets/job.

    She wrote herself checks and did not declare or properly quantify them on her income statements (evidently). You don't get to pocket money, fudge the paper work, then tell the IRS you want a write off because you "gave it back" and thus experienced a "capital loss." Theft income has to be reported in the "other income" box of your taxes...it's the rules.
  9. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 14,370   +3,599

    Oh well,. Ms Yangson is in "good" company. The Fed was only able to convict Al Capone on fraud and tax evasion charges.

    It's a pity that Alcatraz Federal Prison is closed, as Ms Yangson could possibly have, "walked a mile in Big Al's shoes", so to speak.
  10. Bubbajim

    Bubbajim TechSpot Staff Posts: 569   +568

    What would your reaction have been had you found out she was a Republican or anything else? Do you try and look up the political affiliations of everyone you come across in order to neatly box them into a category for yourself?
    lostinlodos and merikafyeah like this.
  11. Polycount

    Polycount TS Evangelist Posts: 1,402   +323

    I'll get right on it.
  12. veLa

    veLa TS Evangelist Posts: 841   +278

    Leave it to a republican to use error 404 as evidence!
  13. I didn’t look up her affiliation. I looked up her name, which lead to a page listing her affiliation.

    If she were a republican she’d have been nabbed for editing her W-2s to show less income (and thus fewer taxes). Embezzling money is a Democrat thing.

    1. It doesn’t lead to a 404.
    2. I’m not a Republican.
  14. Mao666

    Mao666 TS Rookie

    This happened to my boss at a construction company...when you are an owner on the hustle to make payroll and quote new jobs and don't have time to check the books...you are vulnerable. My boss lost over 1 million. The bookkeeper was only given probation because she was a guardian for a 12 year old boy. Oh...she was ordered to pay it back. Like that will happen. MORAL of the story...don't trust ANYONE with your money.
    R Marshall and davislane1 like this.
  15. lostinlodos

    lostinlodos TS Booster Posts: 138   +24

    Actually depending on her income,

    if she files the CORRECT tax forms now and asked for an extension on payment,
    Then files the return of the money as a net loss on investment,
    She may bracket out and end up owing nothing to the irs, or even getting taxes overpaid back. All sorts of weird things can happen when numbers get that long.
    davislane1 likes this.
  16. Devil’s always in the details with the IRS. Would be properly amusing if this happened.
    lostinlodos likes this.
  17. Abraka

    Abraka TS Addict Posts: 176   +54

    I can send you a $50 premium quality bill for only $80.
  18. dogofwars

    dogofwars TS Booster Posts: 132   +48

    Well now she will be republican LOL.
  19. They do say a lot of republicans are converts.
  20. lostinlodos

    lostinlodos TS Booster Posts: 138   +24

    I’ll do you one better and send you a brand new crisp $100 for just $1.20 postage and $14.99 shipping and handling. I have a 24-48 hour response to shipping time!

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