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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. ASHLEY FURST DEFENDANT

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

 

NO: 19-cr-00014

18 UoSoC.§ 1343 (Wire Fraud)。
Forfeiture Allegation:
18 UoS.C。 §981(a)(1)(C),28 UoS.C.§ 2461(c),
21 UoS.C.§ 853(p)。

INFORMATION

 

The United States Attorney informs the Court:

COUNT ONE

WIRE FRAUD

 

 

At all times material to this Information:


Introduction

        1.      The American Horse Council ("AHC"), located at 1616 H Street, NW,

Washington, D.C., was a non-profit, tax exempt, organization whose mission was to promote

opportunities for those employed in the horse industry, to educate the public about horse care,

and to encourage research through grants to individuals, programs, and organizations.

       2.       Defendant ASHLEY FURST ("Defendant") was hired by AHC in 201I as the

Office Administrator and later promoted to be the Director of Communications. While

employed by AHC, Defendant's responsibilities included public outreach, membership

recruitment, and communications, as well as duties typically performed by an Office

Administrator, such as maintaining AHC's accounting records, reconciling the monthly bank

account statements, transferring on-line donations from AHC's PayPal account to their bank


account, providing copies of the bank statements to the members of the Board of Directors, and

serving as the sole point of contact for the outside auditors.

                                            The Scheme

       3.      From in or about 2012 until in or about June 2018, within the District  of

Columbia and elsewhere, Defendant ASHLEY FURST, devised and intended to devise a scheme

to defraud and to obtain money and property by means of materially false and fraudulent

pretenses, representations, and promises, as more     fully described below.

       4.      It was part of the scheme to defraud that Defendant stole money from AHC using

the following methods. First, Defendant paid her own person credit card bills from AHC's

BB&T bank account, primarily through on-line debits from the bank account to satisfy

Defendant's credit card balance, for approximately 5415,202.52. Second, Defendant wrote

herself unauthorized checks drawn on AHC's BB&T bank account, typically listing on the memo

line a bogus reason for the check, for approximately $83,656.40. Third, Defendant repaid her

personal loan at USAA from AHC's funds, for approximately $56,411.43. Fourth, although

Defendant was responsible for transferring donations from AHC's PayPal account, she

misdirected approximately $60,949.49 to her own account or to pay for personal items. Fifth,

Defendant increased her salary without authorization, by approximately $29,875.03.

       5.      It was a further part of the scheme to defraud that through these five methods,

Defendant embezzled approximately $646,094.87 from AHC, however, before the victim

discovered the crime, Defendant returned $100,500.00 to AHC, leaving a total embezzlement of

$545,594.87.



       6.         It was a further part of the scheme to defraud that in the spring of 2018,

Defendant, without authority from the AHC's Board of Directors, applied for a bank loan

through the use of loan documents including a forged Pledged Collateral Agreement.

       7   .      On or about December I , 2076, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere,

Defendant ASHLEY FURST for the purpose of executing and attempting to execute the above-

described scheme to defraud, did willfully cause to be transmitted by means of wire

communication in interstate commerce from the District of Columbia certain writings, signals,

and sounds, that is, online wire debit withdrawals from AHC's bank account at              BB&T to

Defendant's credit card account in the amount of $11,692.52, without authorization from AHC.

                                     (Wire Fraud, in violation of
                                Title 18, United States Code, S 1343).

                                   FORFEITURE ALLEGATION

       1.         Upon conviction of the offense alleged in Count One of this Information,

Defendant shall forfeit to the United States any property, real or personal, which constitutes or is

derived from proceeds traceable to this offense, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. $ 981(a)(t )(C) and 28

U.S.C. $ 2a$@). The United States will also seek a forfeiture money judgment against the

defendant in the amount of $545,594.87.

       2.         If any of the property described above   as being subject   to forfeiture, as a result   of

any act or omission of Defendant:

                  a.     cannot be located upon the exercise of due diligence;

                  b.     has been transferred or sold to, or deposited   with,   a   third party;

                  c.     has been placed beyond the     jurisdiction of the Court;

                  d.     has been substantially diminished in value; or



               e.     has been commingled    with other property that cannot be divided without

                      difficulty;

Defendant shall forfeit to the United States any other property of Defendant, up to the value   of
the property described above, pursuant to 21 U.S.C. $ 853(p).

              (Criminal Forfeiture, pursuant to Title 18, United States Code,
             Section 981(a)(1)(C), Title 28, United States Code, Section 2461(c),
                      and Title 21, United States Code, Section 853(p)).


                                                     JESSIE K. LIU

                                                     United States Attorney
                                                     for the District of Columbia


                                             By:
                                                     VIRGINIA CHEATHAM
                                                     Assistant United States Attorney
                                                     DC Bar # 411980
                                                                               .


                                                     United States Attorney's Office
                                                     Fraud and Public Corruption Section
                                                     555 4th Street, N.W., Room 5836
                                                     Washington, D.C. 20530
                                                     (202) 2s2-7820

Ashley Furst pleaded guilty on January 29, 2019, to federal wire fraud.

The charge comes after the 35-year-old Highlands Ranch, Colorado woman stole almost $550,000 from the American Horse Council.

May 2019

A judge sentenced Ashley Furst to 27 months in prison for embezzling money from the equine non-profit.

Furst must also pay almost $245,000 in restitution plus a forfeiture money judgment in the same amount. After prison, the former American Horse Council employee will spend three years on supervised release and serve 100 hours of community service.

 

Ashley Furst’s scheduled prison release date is May 25, 2021