Former Fort Collins bookkeeper pleads guilty to defrauding employer of almost $1M

FORT COLLINS — A former bookkeeper for Craig Brothers Plumbing and Heating Inc. pleaded guilty to defrauding the Larimer County company of approximately $1 million over the course of six years.

Rose Horne, 66, pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud and money laundering and agreed to repay C&B a total of $982,115 as restitution, according to documents filed to the U.S. District Court of Colorado last week.

Horne was indicted in 2014, when a grand jury charged her with 17 counts of fraud. According to court records, she was accused of writing hundreds of checks from C&B’s accounts to pay off her personal credit-card balances and bills from 2005 to 2011.

Prosecutors also alleged that she hid her behavior by cutting out copies of the fraudulent checks from bank statements and attributing funds she took as payments to vendors, along with forging the company owners’ signatures on some checks.

She was living in California as a fugitive until she was arrested last June.

Horne is facing up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000, along with paying restitution. She is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court on Aug. 19.

Company president Dennis Craig told BizWest that he hopes Horne’s sentencing will act as a deterrent against employees in other companies committing similar types of fraud and putting business owners in the difficult position of getting local and state law enforcement officials to take on the task of investigating the case.

His family did have to sell off some of their land to replace the lost capital and keep the business afloat. While Craig said he doesn’t want to be vindictive against her, he still struggles to understand why she went through with the scheme.

“She was an employee for 27 years, and a trusted employee. Our kids grew up together, and she went to lunches with my late wife,” she said. “It’s a pretty hard thing to grasp when someone who’s not only an employee, but a friend, did that.”

© 2021 BizWest Media LLC

FORT COLLINS — A former bookkeeper for Craig Brothers Plumbing and Heating Inc. pleaded guilty to defrauding the Larimer County company of approximately $1 million over the course of six years.

Rose Horne, 66, pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud and money laundering and agreed to repay C&B a total of $982,115 as restitution, according to documents filed to the U.S. District Court of Colorado last week.

Horne was indicted in 2014, when a grand jury charged her with 17 counts of fraud. According to court records, she was accused of writing hundreds of checks from C&B’s accounts to pay off her personal credit-card balances and bills from 2005 to 2011.

Prosecutors also alleged that she hid her behavior by cutting out copies of the fraudulent checks from bank statements and attributing funds she took as payments to vendors, along with forging the company owners’ signatures on some checks.

She was living in California as a fugitive until she was arrested last June.

Horne is facing up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000, along with paying restitution. She is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court on Aug. 19.

Company president Dennis Craig told BizWest that he hopes Horne’s sentencing will act as a deterrent against employees in other companies committing similar types of fraud and putting business owners in the difficult position of getting local and state law enforcement officials to take on the task of investigating the case.

His family did have…