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Hickory Woman Indicted In Federal Case For Allegedly Embezzling More Than 900K

A federal grand jury sitting in Charlotte has returned a criminal indictment, charging 48-year-old Michelle Wilshire of Hickory, with multiple counts of wire fraud, tax fraud, and money laundering. She’s charged with allegedly embezzling more than $900,000 from her employer. The announcement was made Wednesday (August 16) by Dena J. King, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.

According to allegations in the indictment, from 2016 to 2021, Wilshire was employed by a family-owned business located in Conover, identified in court documents as Company A. During the relevant time, Wilshire was in charge of Company A’s Comdata account – a third-party payment processing and debit card issuing service – which Company A used for fleet management and payment services for its drivers.

The indictment alleges that Wilshire executed a scheme to defraud her employer by issuing multiple Comdata prepaid debit cards in her name and in the names of other individuals, including former employees, fictitious employees, and current employees who were not aware the cards existed. Wilshire allegedly caused Comdata to load funds onto the prepaid debit cards, which the defendant then withdrew via ATM cash withdrawals. Between November 2017, and July 2021, Wilshire allegedly withdrew more than $528,000 from prepaid Comdata debit cards.

In addition to the debit card scheme, Wilshire allegedly embezzled Company A’s funds by using Comdata’s Comchek and Comchek Mobile services to issue checks in the defendant’s name and to make multiple wire transfers into Wilshire’s personal bank account, totaling over $315,000. Wilshire also allegedly caused more than $58,000 of Company A’s funds to be transferred through Comdata into the bank account of a former company employee.

According to allegations in the indictment, Wilshire also prepared and filed individual income tax returns for tax years 2017 through 2021, which did not include the additional funds Wilshire received through her embezzlement scheme.

Wilshire is charged with six counts of wire fraud, which carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine per count; five counts of making and subscribing a false tax return, which carry a statutory maximum term of one year in prison per count; and two counts of money laundering which carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction.

Wilshire’s initial court appearance in Charlotte has been scheduled for Tuesday, August 29, 2023, at 10:15 a.m.

[News release from U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of North Carolina]