Federal Grand Jury charges woman with embezzlement from Ridgecrest firms

FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a 16-count superseding indictment against Sherrill V. Hanson, 61, of Big Pine, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced April 4.

The original indictment charged Hanson with 14 counts of wire fraud; the superseding indictment added two new counts of willfully failing to file a tax return.

According to court documents, while employed as the accountant and office manager for Sanderson Health Care Services and Sander-son Assisted In-Home Care in Ridgecrest, Hanson embezzled money from the companies by various means, including paying her own credit card bills, withdrawing cash, and paying money to and on behalf of various family members.

The superseding indictment alleges that she failed to file federal income tax returns in 2006 and 2007, despite having sufficient income to be required to do so.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investi-gation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Mark J. McKeon is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Hanson faces a maximum statutory penalty for each count of wire fraud of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The maximum penalty for each count of willfully failing to file a tax return is one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and federal sentencing guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

The charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Story First Published: 2013-04-17