A Villa Rica woman has reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors on charges of misappropriating more than $200,000 from her former employer, an Atlanta-based property management company.
Nicole Leigh Stamps-Mims, 35, of Villa Rica, pleaded guilty before Judge Steve C. Jones of the Atlanta Division of the Northern District Court for Georgia in the United States on September 27, 2022, to the charge of electronic fraud on the part of Exclusive Association Management (EAM).
According to court documents, beginning on an unknown date, but estimated to be around August 21, 2015, and continuing through October 10, 2018, in the Northern District of Georgia, Mims knowingly “conceived and intended to conceive a scheme and artifice to defraud and obtain money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises, and by omission of material facts, knowing well and having reason to know that the said pretenses, representations and promises were and would be false and fraudulent when made and caused and such omissions were and would be material.”
EAM is a property management company that oversees the day-to-day operations of rental investment properties located in Douglasville, Villa Rica and Bremen.
According to court documents, Mims was employed as an administrative assistant for EAM for approximately three years. In her position, she conducted tenant screenings, coordinated maintenance and repairs, conducted property inspections and collected rent, meaning Mims had access to EAM’s accounting records and bank account information. , as it would process monthly rent payments from tenants.
Prosecutors say Mims used her job as an administrative assistant to embezzle about $210,000 from the company.
After collecting payment from the tenants, she fraudulently deposited checks and money orders intended for EAM into her own bank account, according to court documents.
Additionally, Mims routed the wire transfers originally sent and intended for EAM’s bank account to his own bank account, all without the knowledge or permission of the company or its owner.
According to court documents, to cover up his fraudulent scheme, Mims collected rent from EAM tenants and provided tenants with receipts at their request and would then falsely record that the tenant failed to pay the rent in the records. of the company.
“Each month, she rotated tenants who ‘failed to pay’ rent, so as not to put an individual tenant’s account in arrears and attract attention,” the court document reads. .
Mims deposited personal checks, money orders and wire transfers into his personal bank account at Bank of America, according to court documents. The filing of these materials resulted in the electronic transmission of information, via wired interstate communication, in the Northern District of Georgia.
Due to Mims’ guilty plea, she faces mandatory maximum and minimum sentences of up to 20 years in prison or the minimum of no prison sentence, supervised release of zero to three years, a maximum fine of $250,000 or double the gain. or double the loss, whichever is greater, full restitution and forfeiture of any proceeds of the commission of the offence.
Mims had been charged with theft in 2009 for stealing $500 from her employer at the time.
According to final decision documents, Mims negotiated eight years of probation for the offense and was protected by first-offender rights. Her probation began in May 2010, meaning she was active when hired by EAM.
In an emailed statement, EAM broker Julie Stephens said the company conducted pre-employment checks before hiring Mims.
“We did a background check which did not turn up evidence of this charge in Douglas County due to the rights of the first offender, so she was able to fly again on a much larger scale,” said Stephens. “We are disappointed with the system that this original charge was struck from her record while still on probation. Probation did not work out for this individual. However, we are grateful for the latest victory in Federal Court and hope for the maximum sentence available for such behavior.
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