Paula R. Hise, 55, of Shawneetown, was sentenced Thursday to 63 months in prison for defrauding her former employer of more than $1.5 million, according to Steven D. Weinhoeft, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois.
Sentence was passed at the federal courthouse in Benton.
Hise pleaded guilty on April 19, 2021 to two counts of wire fraud. Information introduced in support of the guilty plea and sentence showed that between 2007 and 2017, Hise used her trusted position as a bookkeeper for Bickett Construction in Ridgway to steal funds by obtaining an unauthorized credit card, using that credit card for personal purchases, and then paying the balance of the credit card using her employer's business checking account.
Hise concealed her crime by creating false entries in the business' account ledgers, creating false accounting reports, and providing false information to her employer, authorities said.
"The FBI is committed to investigating those who commit financial fraud in order to protect American citizens and businesses," said Special Agent in Charge David Nanz.
"This sentence holds Hise accountable for the damage she caused and sends a message that fraud is a serious crime with serious consequences."
In addition to the 63-month term of imprisonment, Hise was also ordered to pay the United States $200 in special assessments, and to pay a total of $1,550,379.14 in restitution to her former employer, less any amounts received from a related civil suit.
Hise was also placed on a three-year term of supervised release to follow her incarceration.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation-Springfield Division. Assistant United States Attorney Casey E.A. Bloodworth prosecuted the case.