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Bookkeeper charged in 9-count indictment for wire fraud

LAPLACE — A LaPlace woman was indicted by a federal grand jury May 30 for nine counts of wire fraud, culminating in approximately $32,000 in embezzled funds.

Latanya A. Britton, 41, was arrested by members of the United States Secret Service. She appeared in the U.S. Magistrate Court Monday and was released on a $50,000 bond.

If convicted, Britton faces a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment, followed by up to three years of supervised release and a $250,000.00 fine per count.

According to the indictment, Britton was hired as a bookkeeper in the client accounting services department of a New Orleans firm in January 2018. She became the bookkeeper responsible for daily accounting and bill paying for a client representing a New Orleans French Quarter restaurant.

A cloud-based accounting software was used to manage the client’s account. Britton allegedly used her access to the client’s bank account to embezzle approximately $32,000. To cover her tracks, she accessed the client’s software and deleted approximately 31 check entries fraudulently issued the account.

Britton allegedly used stolen funds to pay for personal expenses at retailers such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Dillard’s, JCPenney’s, Old Navy, DSW, and at various nail spas.

On or around Dec. 30, 2018, Britton made false statements in an email to her client’s managing shareholder after being contacted about suspicious activity on the account. She was terminated from the accounting firm on Jan. 3, 2019.

U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser praised the work of the United States Secret Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian M. Klebba, supervisor of the financial crimes unit, is handling the prosecution.