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Former bookkeeper pleads guilty to wire fraud & tax evasion

MADISON — John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Lisa Buchholz, 48, Luck, Wis., pleaded guilty on July 28 in U.S. District Court in Madison to one count of wire fraud and one count of income tax evasion.

In February 2016, a federal grand jury sitting in Madison, Wis., returned a 13-count indictment against Buchholz.  The indictment alleged that while employed as a bookkeeper for Four Seasons Wood Products (FSWP) in Frederic, Wis., from May 2008 until June 2012, she devised a scheme to defraud the company, causing FSWP to sustain a loss of approximately $136,886.  The indictment further alleged that Buchholz failed to file income tax returns for 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, and that she evaded 2011 income taxes by making false statements to an IRS criminal investigator during an interview in 2013.

At the July 28 plea hearing, Buchholz admitted that she devised and participated in a scheme to defraud FSWP by misusing the FSWP accounting system to embezzle money that she disguised as payroll to nominee entities.  Buchholz also admitted she diverted checks payable to FSWP and deposited them into her own bank account.  Buchholz admitted she created fake endorsements on the back of the checks making it appear she had authority to cash the checks as payments to her, not FSWP.

Buchholz also admitted she failed to file tax returns with the IRS since 1999, and that she owed income taxes totaling $55,401 for tax years 2008-2011.

U.S. District Judge William Conley scheduled sentencing for November 3, 2016, at 1:00 p.m.  Buchholz faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on the wire fraud charge and five years on the income tax evasion charge.

The charges against Buchholz are the result of an investigation by IRS Criminal Investigation and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.  The prosecution of this case has been assigned to Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Graber.