Diane L. Backis admits to stealing $3.1 million from former employer
A New York woman and former accounting manager at Cargill Inc. has admitted to stealing at least $3.1 million from the agribusiness giant over the course of 10 years.
Diane Backis, 50, pleaded guilty Monday to mail fraud and to filing a false income tax return, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. In addition to embezzling millions, Backis also caused Cargill — the largest privately held corporation in the United States — at least $25 million in losses by filing fraudulent invoices.
“Ms. Backis stole millions of dollars from her employer in a decade-long scheme to enrich herself so she could live beyond her means,” said U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian in a statement. “She stole money by diverting customer payments to her personal bank accounts and sold grain products for millions less than her employer paid, causing enormous financial losses.”
Backis faces up to 20 years in prison, a three-year term of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000 when she is sentenced on March 28, 2017.
In addition to prison time, Backis also has agreed to pay Cargill as least $3.5 million in restitution and to forfeiture of her house, an investment brokerage account and her pension benefits, the Justice Department stated.
Cargill is based in Minnetonka, Minnesota.
The FBI and IRS — which found that Backis filed a false 2015 individual tax return by only declaring $61,208 in total income while omitting hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxable income — led the investigation.