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Dec 30, 2018 – PANAMA CITY — A former payroll specialist with a Bay County cardiovascular clinic is now facing decades in prison for stealing almost $700,000 from her employer over the course of several years, according to court records.
Angela Lynn Manning, 52, pleaded guilty Dec. 20 to five counts of federal wire fraud charges in connection with the case. She manipulated business books at the Cardiovascular Institute of Northwest Florida (CVI), 801 E. Sixth Street, from 2014 through April 2018 in order to write checks to herself totaling $694,012. Manning had been indicted in federal court because she removed the funds from the business’ bank accounts and now faces up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines on each count of wire fraud, court records stated.
Manning is scheduled to return to court for a sentence hearing March 12 in Tallahassee.
Despite being charged with five counts, officials reported Manning actually conducted 600 acts of fraud during her time with the business. According to a police interview with Manning, the practice of stealing form the company seemed to snowball over time.
“I don’t even know how it blossomed into this and I get to be this person,” she told investigators after her arrest.
Manning’s primary duty with CVI was managing the accounts payable using the Quickbooks computer program. She was a salaried employee, continually seeing raises from making $34,000 in 2014 to the point she was making $43,000 in 2017.
In April 2018, however, Manning went on sick leave to undergo surgery for about six weeks. That’s when a temporary bookkeeper stepped in to take over Manning’s duties and required help from a staff accountant to keep up with the workload, court records stated.
Shortly after, the accountant noticed several checks issued to Manning in April alone — two of which totaled more than $22,000. The checks had been tethered to two bank accounts with Hancock Whitney and Trustmark. After alerting the authorities, investigators began an audit and determined she had been initially making out the checks in her name to be deposited in her bank account and afterward changing the recipient names on the checks to vendors of CVI in an attempt to muddy the paper trail.
Manning “would manipulate the businesses Quickbooks to appear as if the money had been used to pay a vendor,” officers wrote. Manning “would then cash the checks or deposit them straight into her personal bank account.”
However, investigators soon discovered an abundance of fraudulent actions.
“Between October 2014 and April 2018, Manning embezzled $610,011 from the Trustmark account and $84,000 from the Hancock account, resulting in the removal of $694,012,” officials wrote. ”… Manning completed over 600 individual fraudulent transactions…”
Manning was arrested and initially charged with grand theft, scheme to defraud and manipulating a business’ books. Her case was waived up to federal court months later.
FBI officials said it is not unusual for the national accounting firm that oversaw CVI to fail in catching embezzlement going on over the course of several years.