A former payroll administrator of a North Carolina nonprofit was charged on Friday with embezzling more than $200,000 via prepaid debit cards and using the money for her personal benefit.
Susan Watson, 41, of Gastonia, N.C., was charged with wire fraud, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and $250,000 fine. She was employed as a payroll administrator in July 2015 in the Charlotte, N.C. office of the North and South Carolina Division of a nonprofit, according to a press release from Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, who only identified the nonprofit in court papers as Company A.
Employees of Company A received their paychecks through pre-paid debit cards, direct deposit and by check. As payroll administrator, Watson knew which employees were paid by prepaid debit card and which employees were paid by direct deposit and check. She also was responsible for providing payroll information to the nonprofit’s payroll processor and used the information to load the employees’ prepaid debit cards by drawing funds from the nonprofit’s bank account, according to authorities.
From 2015 through November 2018, Watson reportedly used her position to obtain Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) from current and former employees to create fake prepaid debit cards in their names. The indictment alleges that Watson loaded funds onto the prepaid debit cards by logging in and accessing the payroll processors’ dedicated web portal to transmit and submit payroll information. She used the cards for her personal benefit, including to make cash withdrawals through ATMs, according to authorities.