An Aurora woman will spend almost three years in federal prison for mail fraud and filing false tax returns in a scheme to embezzle money from her employer.
Diana Kay Erickson, 46, was sentenced last Friday by U.S. District Court Judge Gay A. Fenner to serve two years and nine months in prison without the possibility of parole. Erickson's sentencing followed her plea of guilty to charges she embezzled $219,606 and $34,242 from Goolsby Rental Properties.
According to Beth Phillips, United States attorney for the Western District of Missouri, Erickson was employed as a bookkeeper at Superior Lifts in 2006. The company is no longer in business but had its office in Aurora in 2004 and later moved them to Nixa in 2009.
The owners of Superior Lifts also operated Goolsby Rental Properties, a second business that managed rental properties in the Wichita, Kan., area. Erickson also performed bookkeeping duties for the rental company.
When customers of Superior Lifts mailed bank checks as payments, Erickson repeatedly intercepted those checks and deposited them in her own personal bank account.
Erickson also admitted that she filed false U.S. Individual Tax Returns in 2006, 2007 and 2008. These returns were false because Erickson failed to report income she embezzled from Superior Lifts and Goolsby Rental Properties. As a result, the tax loss to the government (without penalties and interest) was $57,801.
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.