Woman's alleged $3M fraud scheme forced employer into bankruptcy - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Woman's alleged $3M fraud scheme forced employer into bankruptcy

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Irene Marie Brooner, 52, a certified public accountant, worked at Galvmet, Inc., a sheet metal fabrication facility and steel service center located in Kansas City, from 2001 until her termination in February. Irene Marie Brooner, 52, a certified public accountant, worked at Galvmet, Inc., a sheet metal fabrication facility and steel service center located in Kansas City, from 2001 until her termination in February.
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A Kansas City woman has been indicted by a federal grand jury for a nearly $3 million fraud scheme that forced her employer into bankruptcy.

Irene Marie Brooner, 52, a certified public accountant, worked at Galvmet, Inc., a sheet metal fabrication facility and steel service center located in Kansas City, from 2001 until her termination in February.

At its peak in 2008, the company had 26 employees and $14 million in annual sales.

Galvmet filed for bankruptcy and ceased operations in 2014. At the time of closing, the company had 18 to 20 employees and $10 million in annual sales.

Brooner's duties as controller included managing payroll, accounts receivable and payable, and maintaining the ledger at Galvmet.

Court documents allege Brooner's scheme lasted 10 years and put the 22-year-old company out of business. The total loss from Brooner's alleged fraud scheme was at least $2,963,914.

She allegedly spent that money on an assortment of goods for her house, herself and her family.

The first and biggest expense described in court documents is Northland home just shy of $300,000. But that was just the beginning, and the end involved dozens of people losing their jobs.

Most interesting is the basement bar described in court documents as built and stocked with the embezzled funds.

She reportedly called the place "the Dirty Duck," and equipped it with 15 seats, four or five  refrigerated taps, three flat-screen TVs and a smoke machine at the entrance.

But that's not all.

The US Attorney's Office says, "mannequins, positioned throughout the bar, are outfitted with authentic U.S. and German uniforms and weaponry from the World War II era, including a Thompson sub-machine gun."

According to the indictment, Brooner's spending included paying off her mortgage for $289,290, buying $81,686 in jewelry, and spending at least $400,392 on clothing and other retail, $97,180 on restaurants, $78,439 on vehicles, $169,389 on furniture and home decor, $62,003 on travel, $38,317 on electronics, $21,346 in ATM withdrawals, $59,571 on spa visits and beauty items, $68,745 on tuition for her children, $18,383 on alcohol, $104,060 to her children, $216,377 in assorted checks under $500, $64,557 in donations, $254,168 in other credit cards and by purchasing other items.

A neighbor said the allegations didn't ring true because Brooner didn't flaunt her money, and neighbors even raised money to help with medical expenses for a liver transplant for Brooner's son.

The indictment was unsealed Tuesday after Brooner's first court appearance for bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.

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