Erin McCauley (also known as Erin Charles) was sentenced to three years in prison and five years of supervised release for a five-year scheme of cashing 306 fraudulent checks totaling $400,526, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The sentence was given on June 28, after the Bothell woman was found guilty of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft for cashing the checks that drew on the bank accounts of her Lynnwood property management employer.
The company managed a number of commercial properties and was owned by a couple who hired McCauley in 2004 to help with bookkeeping. In 2012, McCauley began writing large checks to herself and forging the owners’ signatures.
“She stole a significant amount of money from a small company and it greatly impacted that business,” Chief U.S. District judge Ricardo S. Martinez said at sentencing, according to a press release.
McCauley had earned her employers’ trust, as the couple entered their 60s and 70s, and they gave McCauley gifts and helped with her car and house payments. In 2017, the couple loaned her $8,000 for home repairs — a loan that was repaid with some of the $400,000 that was stolen from their own accounts.
When the couple became aware of the theft, they worked with the FBI to see if McCauley would admit the embezzlement. McCauley underestimated the amount of money she had embezzled, and acknowledged much of the money had gone to feed her gambling addiction.
“[McCauley] wanted money that she did not have in order to live a lifestyle should could not afford, “ prosecutors wrote to the court. “To do so, she took advantage of her position as the trusted office manager and bookkeeper for the [couple] and used their business accounts as her personal piggybank to fund the lifestyle she wanted to live.”