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Houston Bookkeeper Charged in a Scheme to Embezzle from a Client

HOUSTON – A 64-year-old Houston woman has been taken into custody following the return of a 16-count indictment alleging wire and mail fraud and filing false tax returns, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.

A federal grand jury returned the indictment under seal yesterday against Gwendolyn M. Berry, which was unsealed as she was taken into custody today. She made her initial appearance this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Milloy and was permitted release upon posting bond.

The indictment alleges Berry took funds in excess of $1.7 million from a family for whom was she provided bookkeeping services between September 2008 and Oct. 1, 2014. Berry allegedly took money from the education accounts of the minor children, as well as other bank accounts belonging to the family. Berry used the money to make payments for the benefit of herself and her family, according to the charges.

Four counts of the indictment charge Berry with filing a false federal tax return for the tax years 2011 through 2014. In each of these tax returns,  Berry allegedly omitted reporting some of her income which, if reported, would have changed the amount of federal income tax due and owing. If convicted of any of these charges, she faces up to three years in prison.

In addition, upon conviction of any of the remaining 12 fraud counts, Berry also faces a possible sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison.

IRS – Criminal Investigation and the Secret Service conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Annis is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.

A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

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