A Missouri husband and wife were sentenced in federal court for their involvement in a five-year-long scheme to embezzle more than $235,000 from a Joplin, Mo., business owner.
Jeanine A. Poe, 52, and William Poe, 58, of Carthage, were sentenced in separate appearances before U.S. Chief District Judge Beth Phillips. Jeanine Poe was sentenced to two years in federal prison without parole. William Poe was sentenced to five years of probation. The court also ordered Jeanine and William Poe to pay $235,744 in restitution to the victim of their thefts.
On June 30, 2020, Jeanine Poe pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and William Poe pleaded guilty to one count of misprision of a felony.
Jeanine Poe was hired by a friend in 2014 to manage two Doc Stop convenience stores in Joplin, for which she was paid more than $50,000 per year. The owner had little to do with the businesses, according to court documents, except to invest his money into both to ensure their financial success. In 2015, Jeanine Poe told the owner the businesses weren’t doing well financially and asked him to invest even more money. The owner invested much of his salary to financially support the businesses.
According to court documents, Jeanine Poe’s criminal activity over a five-year period included hundreds, if not thousands, of individual instances of theft and fraud.
In October 2019, after the businesses continued to lose money, the owner asked a friend to review the financial affairs of the businesses and learned that Jeanine Poe was embezzling money from his businesses. She had obtained at least seven credit cards in the name of the businesses, conducted transactions on the credit cards, and paid for such transactions with funds from the businesses. All of the credit cards opened by Jeanine Poe had reached their maximum allowable credit limit, and many times were used by Jeanine and William Poe for expenses that were entirely unrelated to the operation of the businesses (such as trips and personal expenses). One of the credit cards was in William Poe’s name. The owner also discovered that large amounts of cash were being fraudulently electronically transferred from his businesses’ bank account to Jeanine Poe’s personal bank account.
The two convenience stores were intended to become the victim’s retirement plan and source of future income. However, the business owner had to file for bankruptcy and actually lost one of his two businesses due to the embezzlement scheme.
William Poe admitted that he was aware of his wife’s embezzlement. He concealed these thefts by convincing the owner his wife was not embezzling when he knew she was stealing from him. His concealment allowed Jeanine Poe to continue to conduct fraudulent credit card transactions and withdrawals from the business accounts.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Carney. It was investigated by the FBI.