(The Center Square) – A former accountant accused of stealing more than $715,000 from a Spokane medical clinic pled guilty Tuesday in federal court to wire fraud.
Carol Casilla, 26, of Spokane, allegedly embezzled funds from Spokane Dermatology Clinic while employed between 2020 and 2023, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Eastern Washington.
“Ms. Casilla abused the trust of her employer to line her own pockets,” U.S. Attorney Vanessa R. Waldref said in a press release. “We will continue to work together with our law enforcement partners to vigorously prosecute those who commit financial fraud, and to strengthen our communities by protecting our local businesses.”
During Tuesday’s hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas O. Rice accepted Casilla’s guilty plea and scheduled sentencing for Feb. 22. The charges carry a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison.
A spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office on Wednesday declined to say if prosecutors had yet made a sentencing recommendation or who initially discovered and reported the alleged embezzlement.
Authorities did say that Casilla used her position to fraudulently issue company checks to herself that she deposited in personal accounts, and also made electronic fund transfers from the business to her own credit cards.
According to court documents, some of the transfers were made to a fictitious company Casilla created to make them appear like legitimate clinic business expenditures. In all, Casilla made hundreds of fraudulent transfers, said authorities.
“Ms. Casilla was a trusted employee and used her access to steal over $700,000 from her employer,” said Richard A. Collodi, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office. “Additionally, she committed and hid her fraud for over three years. This guilty plea is the first step to restoring the victims and reinforcing accountability for those who violate trust.”
The case was investigated by the FBI’s Spokane resident agency. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dan Fruchter and Tyler H.L. Tornabene.