A woman who pleaded guilty in July to embezzling more than $475,000 from a Utah trucking company has been sentenced to two years in federal prison.
According to local media accounts, Danielle Apadaca-Roberts of St. George, Utah, late last week received the 24-month sentence recommended by federal prosecutors for having embezzled from P.C.T. Trucking. She was payroll manager from February 2016 to June 2019.
In the sentencing request submitted by her attorneys, Apadaca-Roberts requested five years’ probation or at most a jail sentence of 12 months and a day.
Court records as of publication time did not have any records of Apadaca-Roberts’ sentencing. But in its sentencing memo, the U.S. Attorney’s Office requested 24 months as well as a forfeiture judgment of $474,359 and a restitution judgment of $87,191 for income tax violations.
“She spent the money on herself and her family, including losing approximately $20,000 gambling,” the sentencing memo said. “She also failed to report any of this stolen money on her tax returns.”
The sentencing memo reviews Apadaca-Roberts’ schemes. She would create “false expense reimbursements for truck drivers in the company’s accounting system,” it said. The payments would then be paid directly either to her accounts or to third parties, such as the landlord of a relative.
She also disabled a feature of the company’s accounting system in which emails would be sent to drivers, notifying them of the expense payment. That eliminated the problem of drivers wondering why they were getting notified of payments that they didn’t claim and which weren’t showing up in their accounts.
When Apacada-Roberts got caught, according to the sentencing memo, she confessed quickly. “The scheme came to light in June 2019, when P.C.T. noticed large discrepancies among the expense reimbursements for similarly situated drivers,” the memo said. She heard that management wanted to talk to her about it, headed home and didn’t come back to work. When company officials visited her at her home, “she confessed to them and then later to the FBI and IRS agents who interviewed her,” the memo said.
The impact on the trucking company was “incredibly negative,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in the memo. “This crime affected P.C.T.’s ability to give other employees raises, buy equipment and otherwise pay its bills.”
The memo says the practice went on for about two and a half years. “This was not a one-time crime born of desperation,” it said. “She only stopped because she was caught. And her remorse appears to be a function of getting caught, rather than for the pain she has caused others.”
At the time of Apacada-Roberts’ guilty plea, it was noted that her mother had worked at the company. “She rode on the coattails of the goodwill her mother had created and P.C.T. trusted her with the important responsibility of handling its payroll,” the memo said.
In Apadaca-Roberts’ sentencing request, her attorney tells a different story, that the defendant had used her mother to contact company officials to facilitate a confession of her crimes.
The Apacada-Roberts sentencing memo includes testimonials from friends and family members as to her character, the fact that she is a single mother and information about a failed marriage with a “heavy drinker.”
The rent she paid to a landlord was for her stepdaughter with drug problems from a second marriage.
“She also acknowledges that being able to assist others made her feel good and the cycle of stealing and spending the stolen money, whether on herself or others, became very difficult to stop,” the sentencing memo says.
P.C.T. is also known as Parke Cox. It has approximately 85 power units and 95 drivers. It is mostly a dry van company and operates in all lower 48 states.