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Criminal Law Keyed to Osler
United States v. Stephens
Citation:421 F.3d 503 (7th Cir. 2005)
Defendant was an employee for Accenture. As part of their time sheets, employees could request reimbursement for business-related expenses by filling in a field labeled “expenses without receipt,” “expenses with receipt,” and “business meals.” It also added an add to/deduct from pay line where those expenses could also be charged. The proper use of the function was for business-type expenses such as international assignments or employee relocation. Defendant argued there was no policy regarding its use. During his time at Accenture, defendant used the “add to pay” button to obtain a total of over $67,000.
At the time of his conduct, Accenture did not have a written policy regarding the availability of cash advances through the time and expense reports. The process however, required employees to complete expense reports and send them to their supervisors for approval before submitting them to be processed and added to their paycheck. The defendant’s first supervisor would check his expense reports and approve them before he could submit them. However, his second supervisor did not pre-approve the reports before they were sent to be processed and instead required the defendant to email him the expense reports as he submitted them.
In the first expense report he used, the defendant made himself his own reviewer, did not email a copy to his supervisor, and added $7,800 to the add to line, knowing he could claim mistake if he was found and state he meant to submit for $78. He continued to do this for 6 more expense reports, advancing around $9,000 to obtain more than $67,000. His seventh report he requested $22,980 which was flagged in an audit and he was fired the next week. Defendant was then convicted of wire fraud. He appealed arguing that the evidence was insufficient to uphold a jury conviction.
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