WICHITA — When Pamela Emig and her husband faced a threatened foreclosure on their land and cattle operation, they filed for bankruptcy. But the Kansas couple then found themselves unable to sell any cattle while in bankruptcy, yet had no money to feed the animals without a line of credit, according to court filings.
In desperation, the 48-year-old Solomon woman began fraudulently moving checks between accounts at the Enterprise Credit Union where she was a manger. Prosecutors say she stole $817,167 between 2005 and 2011.
On Monday, Emig will face U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson in Topeka to learn her punishment. She pleaded guilty in November to one count of credit union embezzlement.
Federal guidelines in her case recommend a sentence of 51 to 63 months. The government has agreed in the plea deal to recommend a sentence at the low end of the guideline range.
The U.S. attorney’s office said Friday it would reserve its comments for the courtroom.
Emig’s defense attorney, Christopher Joseph, said in an email he would need to get authority from his client before he could talk about the case.
But in court filings, Joseph has asked the judge for leniency by imposing a sentence of no more than a year-and-a-half. He wrote that Emig “made a poor choice in a time of desperation.”
Joseph argued that Emig was a reliable and conscientious employee at Enterprise for nearly 30 years before personal circumstances and desperation influenced her “aberrant actions.”
A forfeiture judgment of $817,167 has already been ordered in the case, as per the plea agreement. The judge is expected to also order a separate restitution judgment against her at sentencing.
Prosecutors have not filed a sentencing memorandum in Emig’s case.
But in a related prosecution against Deborah Bomia, another Enterprise employee also involved in the scheme, the government has recommended a probationary sentence. She faces sentencing Monday for embezzling $85,000 from the credit union.
In urging probation for Bomia, prosecutors cited her assistance in the investigation and prosecution of another, more culpable individual.
The attorney for Emig agreed his client should get a longer sentence because she stole significantly more money than Bomia, but argued that sentence should be tempered by the fact that Emig wanted to be caught, immediately confessed and never denied her misconduct.
“Mrs. Emig, a financially responsible person her whole life, simply broke under the pressure,” her attorney wrote.
By ROXANA HEGEMAN
The Associated Press