Melodie Ann Eckland pleaded guilty to defrauding her extended family and her employer, a non-profit adoption and surrogacy agency. From 2011 to 2018 Eckland, a bookkeeper, stole funds from her employer by making unauthorized wire transfers, wiring checks to herself and paying herself unauthorized bonuses.
Eckland maintained two sets of agency books, one for the board of directors and one that showed the payments made to herself. To cover the stolen money she applied for loans and altered financial records to make it appear that she owned the agency. Beginning in 2016 she stopped paying the agency’s quarterly employment tax payments to the IRS, and stopped filing employment tax returns. As a result the agency owed more than $94,000 in past due employment taxes.
Eckland also stole more than $123,000 from the estate of her deceased brother-in law. Her husband was the executor of the estate and Eckland forged his signature on stolen checks. She used some of this money to replace a portion of the stolen funds from her employer.
She did not report the embezzled funds on her tax returns in 2013, 2014 and 2017. In 2015 and 2016 she reported more than $550,000 as “other income” but did not pay the taxes due. Between 2013 and 2017 she failed to report more than $675,000 in income, resulting in a tax loss to the IRS of more than $345,000.
Eckland faces up to 30 years in prison, a $750,000 fine and restitution.