Alaska Woman Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Anchorage Medical Practice
Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced that an Alaska woman pleaded guilty in federal court for devising multiple schemes to defraud an Anchorage medical practice through various means.
Jill Diane Applebury, aka: “Jill Wetzsteon,” 53, d/b/a Applebury Accounting Services, of Anchorage, pleaded guilty today before Chief U.S. District Judge Timothy M. Burgess to four counts of bank fraud, one count of wire fraud, and one count of fraudulent transactions with an access device. The sentencing hearing has been scheduled for March 29, 2019, at 9:00 a.m.
According to court documents, from the mid-1990’s until March 2013, Jill Applebury was an independent contractor who performed bookkeeping services for an Anchorage medical practice, which was owned and operated by an Anchorage physician. From at least 2004 until March 22, 2013, Jill Applebury defrauded the Anchorage medical practice in several ways.
According to admissions made in connection with her guilty plea, one such scheme stems from May 2008 to January 2010, when Jill Applebury used the medical practice’s funds to pay her Federal Income Tax Withholding without authority. Specifically, Jill Applebury executed unauthorized and fraudulent transactions from the medical practice’s business bank account to the IRS, thereby having the medical practice pay her IRS individual income tax account.
Another scheme involved the medical practice’s profit-sharing plan. Employees of the medical practice were eligible to participate in its profit-sharing plan, which was overseen by a third-party administrator. Independent contractors did not qualify for the plan; however, Jill Applebury falsely represented to the third-party administrator that she had become a full-time employee of the medical practice in 2009, making her eligible to participate in the profit-sharing plan beginning in 2010. In all, Jill Applebury fraudulently caused the physician to unknowingly allocate $62,722.90 to her in unauthorized profit-sharing plan contributions for the years 2010 and 2011.
In April and May 2011, Jill Applebury devised a scheme to defraud the medical practice by fraudulently transferring funds from the medical practice’s business bank account to pay for charges on her personal credit card, which she shared with her husband Darin Applebury, including charges for travel and dining. Additionally, between 2004 and March 22, 2013, Jill and Darin Applebury used the medical practice’s business credit card to pay for items for their own personal and/or business benefit. The unauthorized charges included cell phone service for the Appleburys and members of their family, internet service for their residence, business licenses for businesses owned by Jill and Darin Applebury, automobile insurance for their personal vehicles, and other personal items.
The investigation also revealed that in October 2012, Jill Applebury fraudulently used the medical practice’s business credit card to purchase nearly $3,000 of medical products for her husband’s business, Rapid Recovery Medical Service, Inc. The fraudulent credit card purchases were made using the physician’s name and address without the knowledge and permission of the Anchorage physician.
Jill Applebury faces a maximum sentence of up to 30 years in prison, as well as a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the criminal history, if any of the defendant.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Anchorage Police Department (APD) conducted the investigation leading to the charges in this case. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Retta-Rae Randall.