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Phelps woman admits to stealing $760K from employer in Waterloo

A Phelps woman has admitted to writing herself more than $760,000 in checks on behalf of her former employer Finger Lakes Conveyers.

Karen Owens admitted to the crimes, which she said happened between 2011 and 2017. Finger Lakes Conveyers is located in Waterloo.

She served as finance director from 2003 to 2017. The 55-year-old admitted to wire fraud. She faces a 33 to 41 month sentence. However, sentencing guidelines aren’t binding.

Altogether there were nearly 400 checks that were written to herself. Michael Gelder, who owns Finger Lakes Conveyers uncovered the fraud.

It started small, and then grew. Part of the issue that Gelder was experiencing was similar to a lot of small businesses. He was working hard, and trying to help it succeed. But no matter how hard he worked – the finances weren’t working out.

Owens told the FBI that she thought she could “take it once and then put it back,” according to the Canandaigua Messenger. She has already paid back around $150,000 in restitution.

Sentencing is scheduled for September 9th.