BETHANY, Okla. - A metro woman has been sentenced to prison after being charged in a massive embezzlement scheme.
Helen Rose Dewey is accused of pocketing nearly $1 million from two cities.
Prosecutors believe the crime started back in 2008.
That’s 20 years after she went to work for the Bethany Warr Acres Public Works Authority.
Investigators say Dewey embezzled more than $900,000, mostly using the public trust’s credit card to go on personal shopping sprees.
The Bluff Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant is owned by the Bethany Warr Acres Public Works Authority.
It provides services for residents in both cities.
Dewey, 61, was the executive assistant there and made purchases for the plant as part of her job.
But, according to court documents, she also made purchases for herself.
In 2012, Dewey reported to the IRS her total income was just under $45,000 a year.
But, prosecutors said, in reality, Dewey received more than $230,000 in additional income that year, which was not reported on her tax return.
“Dewey primarily embezzled funds by using the Public Works Authority’s credit cards at Sam’s Club and Walmart to make unauthorized purchases,” the U.S. Attorney alleges.
Most of Dewey’s purchases were for gift cards up to $200 a piece.
Legal analysts said for this embezzlement to have gone on for five years, from 2008 to 2013, raises a lot of questions.
“It sounds like they have an accounting/auditing problem there at the Bethany Warr Acres Public Works Authority,” David McKenzie said.
This week Dewey was sentenced to serve 37 months in prison for embezzlement.
She must also pay $974,034.61 in restitution to the Bethany Warr Acres Public Works Authority, and $233,674 to the IRS.