A Rapid City woman convicted of two counts of Wire Fraud and one count of Tax Evasion was sentenced by Jeffrey L. Viken, U.S. District Judge.
Jennifer Durham, age 42, was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison, and was ordered to pay $700,000 in restitution to The Rapid City Rush and $186,277.00 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service. Federal prosecutors say that between February 2010 and June 2019, Durham, while employed as the office manager for Rapid City Professional Hockey, stole $700,000 from the organization.
As part of her duties, Durham was responsible for the business accounting records and recording and depositing cash receipts. As part of her scheme to defraud, Durham caused fraudulent payments to herself in excess of her salary agreement, made unauthorized wire transfers from the hockey bank account to pay her personal credit card, made unauthorized wire transfers from the bank account to her personal account, and fraudulently diverted cash proceeds for her own personal use.
In order to cover up her theft, Durham made false entries into the Rapid City Professional Hockey’s accounting records to give the illusion the money she was stealing was spent on legitimate business expenses.
During the same time period, Durham also willfully attempted to evade, or defeat taxes imposed under the Internal Revenue Code.
Durham accomplished this by underreporting her income from tax years 2010 through 2018 by a total of $688,867.67, resulting in a tax loss of $186,277.00.
The investigation was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Patterson prosecuted the case.
Durham was ordered to self-surrender to the U.S. Marshals Service on January 19, 2021, to begin serving her custody sentence.