The top administrator for a Dallas PR firm pleaded guilty under a plea deal in federal court June 5 after embezzling more than $772K from the firm for personal items like an outdoor deck and hot tub.
Marci Johnson, 46, entered a guilty plea on one count of mail fraud stemming from the embezzlement, which occurred over seven years at Spaeth Communications, the firm of former Reagan White House PR aide Merrie Spaeth.
She faces up to 24 months in prison if full restitution of $772,829.25 is paid by September 18 and the plea deal is accepted.
U.S. Attorney Sarah Saldana said Johnson, as chief administrative officer at Spaeth, used her corporate American Express card for personal charges like dining, department stores and entertainment, and then used company checks to pay the bill. She also wrote company checks to cover charges on her personal credit cards for items including outdoor granite countertops, a deck and hot tub at her home in Kaufman, Tex.
Johnson also falsified account records to hide her scheme, Saldana said.
"Based on her long-standing working relationship with the company’s owner, Johnson occupied a position of trust that provided her substantial discretion over the company’s bank accounts," the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas said.
The FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service conducted the probe.
Johnson spent her entire career with the firm, joining as an intern in 1987.