Operations manager altered 376 checks worth $800K. Now, Irving woman is going to prison

Courtesy: McClatchy Co.

An Irving woman who was an operations manager at a North Texas IT staffing service company was sentenced on Tuesday to more than six years in a federal prison for embezzling more than $800,000 from her employer, a federal prosecutor said.

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton announced that She-Daria Latisha Owens-Sharp, 42, was given 77 months by U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay.

The judge also ordered her to pay $1.1 million in restitution – the amount of money she embezzled from the company plus the amount of extra payroll taxes the company, Yasme Soft Inc. in Irving, incurred as a result of her fraud.

Owens-Sharp had pleaded guilty in April 2022 to one count of wire fraud.

According to federal court documents, Owens-Sharp, who served as operations manager for the company from April 2012 to March 2019, admitted that she requested paper paychecks for employees in addition to those employees’ direct deposit checks. She then altered the paper checks, removing the employees’ names and replacing them with her own, and deposited the checks into her own bank account.

Owens-Sharp also admitted that she informed the company’s payroll vendor that her salary had been increased from $17 to $25 per hour (a nearly 50 percent increase), causing the company to increase her direct deposit, without authorization.

Federal authorities said she concealed her lie from the company by making false entries in their records reflecting payroll and expenses for employees who had left the company.

Owens-Sharp deposited approximately 376 altered checks totaling more than $818,000, according to court documents. The company paid an additional $224,000 in payroll taxes on the fraudulently obtained checks, resulting in a loss to the company of more than $1 million.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office conducted the investigation of the embezzlement.