Former Accounting Supervisor Pleads Guilty to Embezzling $3.6 Million from Employer

HOUSTON—A former accounting supervisor for a Houston area chemicals company has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $3.6 million from her employer, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.

Diana Simon, 49, of Sugar Land, Texas, appeared before United States District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt today and pleaded guilty to wire fraud arising from a scheme she devised to steal more than $3.6 million from her employer, Kaneka Texas. Kaneka Texas is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kaneka Japan, a Japanese chemicals company. Kaneka Texas is located in Pasadena, Texas.

As an accounts supervisor, Simon was responsible for processing invoices submitted by vendors for payment. Simon pleaded guilty to using this process to create and implement a false and fraudulent scheme to cause $3,621,220 from her employer’s bank account to be wired to her own bank account at a Houston area bank from June 2006 through February 2008. Simon used the embezzled money to buy a luxury home, luxury vehicles, jewelry and financed multiple gambling trips to Louisiana and Las Vegas.

Simon now faces up to 20 years of imprisonment for the wire fraud conviction to be followed by a three-year-term of supervised release as well as a maximum fine of $250,000. Additionally, per the terms of her plea agreement, Simon is required to make a full and complete disclosure of all assets in which she has any financial interest, has agreed to forfeit whatever interest she may have in assets related to the commission of the wire fraud and will pay any restitution to the company ordered by the court.

Simon has been permitted to continue to on bond pending sentencing. Judge Hoyt has set sentencing for Jan. 25, 2010.

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the FBI and initiated in 2008 prompted by the company’s discovery of the embezzlement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Vernon Lewis is prosecuting the case.