US HR Director charged with stealing nearly $1m by issuing fraudulent payroll cheques


She has been charged with theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and identity theft.

An HR director in Pennsylvania has been accused of stealing nearly US$1 million by issuing fraudulent payroll cheques to four former contractors.

Christine Cushman, who was director of human services and in charge of preparing payroll for HighPoint Solutions LLC, has been charged with theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and identity theft between 4 May 2015 and 15 June 2017, according to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.

The suspected fraud was uncovered after a bank official notified the US-based IT consultancy that 45 large and suspicious direct deposits totalling £919,301 had been sent to Cushman’s personal account. The company’s chief financial officer then reported the matter to the authorities.

Cushman was arrested and arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Ester J Casillo, who set bail at $10,000, which was subsequently paid. A preliminary hearing is set for 22 August.

District Attorney Kevin R Steele said: “This breach of trust is something that needs to be guarded against by other companies. Unfortunately, corporate theft is all too prevalent and requires a system of checks and balances within the corporate system to make sure this doesn’t happen.”