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GALVESTON, Texas (CW39) – A Bay City woman has been ordered to federal prison after admitting defrauding a company of nearly half a million dollars, U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery announced Thursday.

Kimberly Knebel Janise, 47, pleaded guilty April 5.

U.S. District Judge Jeffery V. Brown sentenced her to 27 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. In assessing the term of punishment, the court imposed one month for every two months she stole.

The court also considered victim impact statements, one which described the profound effect of Janise’s embezzlement on the family-owned business and its employees. Janise was further ordered to pay $450,648.04 in restitution to the victims.

Janice worked as an accountant for McAda Drilling Fluids Inc. located in Bay City. In that role, Janice was responsible for paying bills, posting deposits and accounting. 

In August 2018, while reviewing business accounts, the company’s president noticed withdrawals linked to Janise’s credit card. The investigation revealed that Janise conducted 67 wire transactions from the company’s business account to pay off her credit card bill totaling almost half a million dollars.

Janise regularly withdrew between $4,000 to $12,000, prosecutors said. However, in one particular month, she took $22,000.

She continued to steal money to pay for travel and dining, while the company struggled with financial hardships, prosecutors said. In fact, the president had not collected a paycheck for two years in an effort to retain employees.

Janise was permitted to remain on bond and voluntarily surrender to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

FBI – Texas City conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Zahra Jivani Fenelon prosecuted the case.