Women’s Coalition Bookkeeper Faces 10 Years In Prison If Convicted of Federal Theft and Money Laundering Charges
CHRISTIANSTED – A bookkeeper with the Women’s Coalition of St. Croix (WCSC) was arraigned today in federal court on a criminal indictment charging her with federal program theft and money laundering, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.
According to the indictment, Kira Lee Encarnacion, 40, was employed by the Women’s Coalition, a non-profit organization that provides assistance and advocacy to women, children and men who are survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and other crimes.
The indictment alleges that as part of her duties, Encarnacion issued payments to the organization’s vendors using an accounting software program.
According to the indictment, Encarnacion circumvented the WCSC’s internal financial controls and fraudulently caused numerous checks to be issued to her.
She then deposited the checks into an off-island bank account using a “Mobile Deposit” application.
If convicted of federal program theft, Encarnacion faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted of money laundering, she faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tasheika Hinson.
Shappert said that an indictment is merely a formal charging document and is not in and of itself evidence of guilt.
“Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty,” she said.