United States Attorney Joseph P. Kelly announced that Sarah E. Batenhorst, 42, of Lincoln, Nebraska, was sentenced in Lincoln, Nebraska, to 10 months in prison by United States Senior District Judge Richard G. Kopf, for wire fraud. Batenhorst was also ordered to serve a period of 3 years on supervised release and pay restitution in the amount of $343,773.55.
From 2006 to 2016 Batenhorst worked as an assistant bookkeeper and then accountant at the Nebraska Rural Electric Association (NREA) with access to the NREA checking account. Beginning in 2014, without authorization or approval of the NREA board or other officers, Batenhorst increased her annual salary. Also in 2015, Batenhorst, began increasing printing and set-up rates for the Rural Electric Nebraska magazine, and used the increased income to pay her own Discover credit card account and personal loans.
Additionally, Batenhorst paid her Discover credit card and personal loan accounts from checks fraudulently written on the NREA account and then, to conceal her actions, she altered copies of those checks and also altered the NREA bank statements. These checks were processed through wire transfers from Nebraska, in interstate commerce, through intermediate banks, to the bank used by Discover Card, located in the state of Delaware.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Lincoln Police Department.