An employee of a professional hockey team in South Dakota, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion for embezzling $700,000 from the organization.

While employed as the Rapid City Rush team office manager between 2010 and 2019, Jennifer Durham falsified entries into accounting records to make it appear that the money she was stealing was spent on business expenses.

Durham paid herself $87,000 in mileage reimbursement and sales commissions, transferred nearly $285,000 from the team’s bank account to pay her credit card bill and transferred another $181,000 to her personal bank account. Durham also admitted to taking $214,971 in cash receipts to use for personal expenses and made payments totaling $7,712 to cover her family’s cell phone bill. She did not report the additional income to the IRS, causing a tax loss of $186,277 to the federal government.

The investigation began when new team owners discovered, “Inconsistencies and irregularities with regard to some bookkeeping handled by a single former employee.”

As part of the plea agreement, Durham must pay restitution to the team totaling $700,000 and the IRS $186,277. She faces up to 45 years in prison

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