An Aurora woman pleaded guilty yesterday to embezzling $253,848 from two employers.
Diana Kay Erickson, 46, entered her plea in federal court in Springfield before U.S. Magistrate Judge James C. England. She admitted that she embezzled $219,606 from Superior Lifts, Inc., between Sept. 7, 2006, and April 2, 2008. She also confessed to embezzling $34,242 from Goolsby Rental Properties between March 14, 2006, and Dec. 18, 2006.
According to United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri Beth Phillips, Erickson was employed in 2006 as a bookkeeper at Superior Lifts, which sold automobile lifts and other products. The company is no longer in business but had offices in Aurora before moving to Nixa in 2009. The owners of Superior Lifts also operated Goolsby Rental Properties that managed rental properties in the Wichita, Kan., area.
While working for these companies, Erickson removed customers' checks mailed to Superior Lifts and deposited them into her own bank account. Erickson also admitted to filing false tax returns in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Phillips said these returns were false because they failed to report income she embezzled from Superior Lifts and Goolsby Rental Properties. As a result, the tax loss to the United States government was $57,801.
Erickson could face up to 23 years in federal prison without parole plus a fine up to $350,000 and an order of restitution.
Following a pre-sentence investigation by the United States Probation Office, a sentencing hearing for Erickson will be scheduled.
The case against Erickson was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Aurora Police Department and the Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.