Crowley woman sentenced to two years in prison for $148,000 embezzlement scheme


ALEXANDRIA, La. – United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced that Otavia Lewis, 38, of Crowley, was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay full restitution in the amount of $148,735 for stealing from her former employer, Apex Equipment Inc.

Lewis, who pleaded guilty on May 1, 2019, to wire fraud, was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Dee D. Drell in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.

According to her guilty plea and documents filed in court, Lewis was employed as the office manager and bookkeeper for Apex Equipment Inc., a privately-held company located in Crowley.

As bookkeeper, Lewis was responsible for initiating direct deposits of Apex employees’ paychecks into their respective bank accounts.

Lewis used her position and access to the company’s accounting software between May 2014 and May 2016 to defraud Apex out of $148,735.28.

As part of the scheme, Lewis used Quickbooks’ direct deposit feature to transfer funds from Apex’s bank account to bank accounts and prepaid debit cards controlled by herself and others, and concealed her fraud in Quickbooks by using other employees’ names to make the transfers.

The U.S. Secret Service conducted the investigation.

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