Former Cargill employee pleads guilty to stealing over $3m from company

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis contact

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock
A former employee stole at least $3.1m and caused about $25m in damages for the agro-giant Cargill. 

Diane Backis, 50, was an accounting manager at Cargill when she reportedly stole customer payments totaling at least $3,115,610 and placed them in a personal account, said the US Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of New York (USAO-NY) in a release​ about the case.

Backis pleaded guilty to mail fraud, filing a false tax return, and also admitted to defrauding the Minnesota-based company in her plea, the agency said.

The thefts occurred during a 10-year period, while she managed accounting duties for the company’s grain operations at the Port of Albany facility in Albany, New York, the agency said. Her job at the time included establishing customer contracts, making and mailing invoices and handling customer payments.

In addition to diverting customer payments, Backis also admitted to undercharging Cargill customers for grain products and reporting higher payments being made to the company, said the New York attorney’s office. The practice created financial loss of about $25m.

Backis is set to be sentenced in March and faces up to 20 years in prison, a period of supervised release and fines of up to $250,000, the agency said. She also has agreed to pay Cargill at least $3.5m, forfeit her house, pension benefits and a brokerage account.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the IRS.

Related topics: Markets, North America, Cargill, Manufacturers

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