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Former Bookkeeper Sentenced to More Than Seven Years for Embezzling More Than $1.3 Million from Mountaineer Racetrack

U.S. Attorney’s Office July 29, 2013
  • Northern District of West Virginia (304) 234-0100

WHEELING, WV—United States Attorney William Ihlenfeld, II announced that Anita Ambler, 49 years old of Virginia, was sentenced on July 29, 2013, in Wheeling by Judge Frederick P. Stamp, Jr. to 87 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Ambler also must pay money judgment of $1,305,090.15 as well as forfeit real estate located in Reva, Virginia, and a Dodge Nitro, both of which were assets that she purchased with proceeds from her scheme.

Ambler, a bookkeeper at the Mountaineer Racetrack, was convicted by a federal jury trial in April 2013 on 11 counts of mail fraud, 10 counts of wire fraud, and four counts of transacting in criminal proceeds.

Trial evidence showed that Ambler was involved in the theft of funds from an account that was being maintained by Mountaineer Race Track and Casino (“Mountaineer”) on behalf of the Horsemen’s Association. Ambler was employed by Mountaineer as a bookkeeper and managed and controlled the Horsemen’s account, identified as The Horseman’s Purse Account. The Horseman’s account included funds deposited by horsemen as well as proceeds from race winnings.

As part of her duties and authority, Ambler received cash that was to be deposited into the Horseman’s account. Ambler was also responsible for sending communications from Mountaineer to legitimate horsemen account holders and was in a position to know which horsemen-held accounts were dormant and could be subject to compromise and fraudulent use without discovery.

From in or about March 2005 to August 6, 2010, Ambler embezzled and stole funds including cash for her own benefit and purpose. Evidence showed that Ambler used Brinks, which was a private commercial interstate carrier to transport deposits of cash and checks (including deposits intended for the Horseman’s account) from Mountaineer to local financial institutions. Mountaineer and Ambler utilized an Internet-based accounting system to make entries to the accounting and bookkeeping records of the Horseman’s account, and Ambler accessed the account records via the Internet thus transmitting interstate wire communications.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Randolph J. Bernard and Michael D. Stein and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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