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Former Employee and Co-Conspirator Sentenced for Embezzling Over $270,000 from WFYI Public Media

— January 25, 2024

In total, the pair embezzled approximately $270,876 from WFYI before the theft was discovered.

INDIANAPOLIS – Alicia Wilson, 37, of Indianapolis, has been sentenced to three years’ probation, with the first 15 months on home detention, and ordered to pay $270,876 in restitution after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

In April of 2023, Mindi B. Madison, 53, of Indianapolis plead guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and was sentenced to three years’ probation and also ordered to pay $270,876 in restitution.

According to court documents, Wilson and Madison conspired together to embezzle funds from WFYI (“WFYI”) Public Media into their personal checking accounts.

Madison began working as an Accounting Specialist for WFYI in January 2018. WFYI was owned and operated by Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Media, Inc., and provided television and radio programming throughout Central Indiana. Madison’s co-conspirator, Wilson, was neither an employee nor a vendor of WFYI.

As an Accounting Specialist, Madison had access to WFYI’s accounting software, and was trusted to present legitimate expenses, claims, invoices, and supporting documentation along with the unsigned WFYI checks to employees at WFYI who had signature authority for their approval and signature. Instead of presenting legitimate claims that arose out of WFYI’s legitimate business expenses for signature and payment, Madison abused her position of trust, and presented at least 156 fake claims and invoices for payment. In effort to conceal the theft from WFYI and their banking institutions, Madison and Wilson agreed that Madison would falsify invoices using versions of Wilson’s name and businesses connected to her.

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Photo by Hitarth Jadhav from Pexels

Madison tendered WFYI checks to Wilson, and they agreed that Wilson would then deposit the checks into her bank accounts. Wilson then withdrew Madison’s portion in cash, and they split the illegal proceeds. Both Madison and Wilson used WFYI’s stolen funds for their own personal expenditures including but not limited to, rent, restaurants, groceries, fuel, and utilities.

In total, the pair embezzled approximately $270,876 from WFYI before the theft was discovered. Wilson’s participation in the scheme made it virtually impossible for WFYI to detect the theft.

“Complex economic crimes such as these devastate the finances and security of businesses and individuals. The defendants’ theft deprived WFYI of hundreds of thousands of dollars intended for public service and educating the community,” said Zachary A. Myers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. “Our office will continue to work with the FBI to identify and prosecute individuals who scheme and steal to satisfy their own greed.”

The FBI investigated this case. The sentences were imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker.

U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant United States Attorney Tiffany J. Preston, who prosecuted this case.

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