Grand Junction Woman Sentenced to 37 Months for Wire Fraud and Filing False Tax Returns

Grand Junction Woman Sentenced to 37 Months for Wire Fraud and Filing False Tax Returns

Denver – The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announces Debra Campbell, age 66, of Grand Junction, Colorado, was sentenced today to 37 months in prison and ordered to pay $410,889 in restitution for wire fraud and filing false tax returns.

According to the plea agreement, from 2009 through April 2018, Campbell owned and operated a company called A Better Alternative Management (ABAM), which was hired by homeowners’ associations (HOAs) to manage their finances. Campbell had access to, and signatory authority for, the HOAs’ bank accounts. Campbell collected and deposited payments from HOA members and paid administrative expenses on behalf of the HOAs. Through these management relationships, Campbell became aware of which HOA boards did not monitor their HOA’s bank account and finances. Starting in March 2015, Campbell began making unauthorized transfers to ABAM’s bank accounts from some of the HOAs’ bank accounts and used that money for her personal expenses. Campbell selected HOAs whose boards did not monitor their HOA’s bank account or finances. 

In order conceal and perpetuate her theft, Campbell regularly altered the HOAs’ bank statements, so they did not reflect the unauthorized transfers and falsely reflected a higher balance than actually existed in the account. In this manner, between March 2015 and April 2018, Campbell stole more than $250,000 from 23 of her client HOAs.

Campbell also failed to include the income gained from her scheme on her 2014-2017 tax returns, substantially underreporting her income and resulting in a tax loss to the federal government of more than $150,000. Campbell signed and filed these returns knowing that they substantially underreported her taxable income and knowing that she had a legal obligation to report and pay taxes on all of her taxable income.

U.S. District Court Judge Christine M. Arguello sentenced the defendant on November 8, 2022. The prison term will be followed by 3 years of supervised release.

“This defendant wrongfully thought she could line her own pockets with money belonging to her clients who placed their trust in her to manage their finances,” said U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan. “We commend our partners at IRS-CI for their work to hold fraudsters accountable for their actions.”

“Campbell took advantage of her clients and further compounded her greed by attempting to hide her ill-gotten gains from the IRS,” said Andy Tsui, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-CI Denver Field Office. “This sentencing should serve as a reminder to small businesses and HOAs about the importance of having financial safeguards in place to avoid becoming a victim of fraud.”

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation. The prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Pegeen Rhyne.

CASE NUMBER: 21-cr-00113-CMA

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