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Former trucking company employee ordered to pay back nearly $600,000 in wire fraud case

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Former trucking company employee ordered to pay back nearly $600,000 in wire fraud case
Sheila Verbrugge, 50, of Brandon, South Dakota, a former trucking-company employee who pleaded guilty in September to wire fraud, has been sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay back $577,577 to Blachowske Truck Line Inc.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A former payroll clerk for a South Dakota trucking company accused of writing checks to herself for more than a decade was sentenced Monday, Dec. 21, to federal prison and ordered to pay back more than half a million dollars.

Sheila Verbrugge, 50, of Brandon, South Dakota, pleaded guilty in September to wire fraud. Authorities say she began diverting money from a Blachowske Truck Line Inc. account in January 2010. It continued until April of this year.

U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier sentenced Verbrugge to three years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Verbrugge was ordered to pay back $577,577.

Verbrugge managed the company’s T-Chek account, which is used to pay for job-related expenses for the truck drivers, such as fuel and truck maintenance. Investigators say she issued T-Cheks payable to herself, deposited them into her personal account and then used the money for her own purposes.

Verbrugge disguised her theft by deleting her name and location and replacing it with the names of Blachowske truck drivers and locations she knew to be associated with those drivers, according to court documents.

“This investigation demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to assisting law enforcement partners with investigations of costly financial crimes,” said Michael Paul, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Minneapolis field office, which covers South Dakota.

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The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting. Founded in 1846, AP today remains the most trusted source of fast, accurate, unbiased news in all formats and the essential provider of the technology and services vital to the news business. The Trucker Media Group is subscriber of The Associated Press has been granted the license to use this content on TheTrucker.com and The Trucker newspaper in accordance with its Content License Agreement with The Associated Press.
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