East Aurora Woman Charged with Embezzlement

Orchard Park Police have arrested Billie Becker for allegedly embezzling money from her employer, Towne Automotive. It has been estimated that approximately $1,000,000 has been stolen since at least 2012. The case is still under investigation and it is possible that more charges could be filed. WGRZ spoke to criminal defense attorney Barry Covert about the case. The full story is available on the WGRZ website.

Amount embezzled could be higher

WGRZ reports that Towne Automotive discovered the theft after receiving a phone call from a credit card company. Police have said that Becker may have been using this credit card to pay for her personal accounts. Mr. Covert told WGRZ that it is possible these findings are only the beginning. “Usually, when you find out about an embezzlement case, it usually then increases by magnitudes of two or three as to what the final amount is, in my experience,” he explained. “If this is the initial amount, by the time they get through all the books and find out if she and/or other people were also engaged in further embezzlement, it could be a much higher amount.”

Federal charges possible

WGRZ asked Mr. Covert if federal charges could be filed against Becker. “Absolutely,” he responded. “It could involve federal charges because you’d believe that she defrauded the credit card company, that she filled out false information. That could be mail fraud, wire fraud, so there certainly could be federal charges involved.”

“In addition,” Mr. Covert added, “it’s hard to imagine that she reported this as part of her income taxes, so there could be income tax liability as well.”

Mr. Covert told WGRZ that, although the current charges against Becker carry a maximum sentence of 15 years, there is a strong possibility that she could get a plea deal. “In our system right now, 96% of all cases are getting pled out,” he explained. “So you could expect that her lawyers, if the case is strong enough, will be looking for some type of plea deal.”

About Barry N. Covert

Mr. Covert is a senior partner in Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria’s Criminal Defense Trials and Appeals Practice Area. He is known for his aggressive representation of clients in the areas of New York State and federal criminal trials and appeals; driving while intoxicated; constitutional law, including First Amendment, civil rights actions, and federal False Claims Act; defending against allegations of scientific misconduct and fraud, research misconduct and fraud, plagiarism, and fabrication of evidence; and professional licensing defense. Mr. Covert frequently provides legal analysis for WGRZ and other media outlets.