MISSOULA – A Trout Creek woman accused of embezzling more than $650,000 while working for a Trout Creek company admitted fraud charges today, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.
Tina Rae Wood, 49, pleaded guilty to wire fraud. Wood faces a maximum 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
A plea agreement reached in the case calls for 22 other counts in an indictment to be dismissed at sentencing if the court accepts the agreement. In addition, restitution is mandatory, and Wood agrees to be responsible for complete restitution. The government may pursue restitution of approximately $783,393, but the final amount will be determined by the court.
U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy presided. Judge Molloy set sentencing for Feb. 25, 2022. Wood was released pending further proceedings.
The government alleged in court documents that Wood was hired in 2013 by a supply company in Trout Creek as an office administrator and secretary. Wood eventually was placed in charge of depositing payments from customers and given access to the company’s accounting system. Wood used the accounting software to embezzle checks from one of the company’s biggest customers and deposited most of the embezzled money into a personal bank account she opened in a bank in Idaho. In February 2019, when the company’s owner realized something was amiss, he contacted Wood. Wood refused to talk to the owner and cleaned out her desk the next weekend. An investigation found 109 customer checks, totaling about $650,843, that Wood had deposited into her own account.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot is prosecuting the case, which was investigated by the FBI.