Crime & Courts

HR director made up employees then stole their checks

The human resources director for a well-known Charlotte company is accused of giving herself a gift that kept on giving: cutting paychecks to fictitious employees, then funneling the money into her own bank account.

According to federal documents unsealed Thursday, Janice Faye Terry-Kidd stole $526,000 from Wilburn Auto Body Shops. Her scam covered about 5 1/2 years, ending in July 2013.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says Terry-Kidd pulled it off by first jiggering the company’s books in 2008 to keep a former employee on the payroll, then diverting the fraudulent salary checks to herself.

In 2011, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Zolot says, she used the same employee’s Social Security number and address to come up with a phony new worker, whose salary again wound up with Terry-Kidd.

Two years after that, she repeated the process to create another new employee for company records, and a new set of paychecks for herself, Zolot says.

Terry-Kidd used her company’s computers to manage her scheme – even wiring payroll taxes for the phony employees to an out-of-state center for the Internal Revenue Service, documents say.

She is charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of filing a fraudulent tax return in 2011.

While Terry-Kidd filed the payroll taxes for her made-up co-workers, she didn’t report almost $460,000 of new income she stole from Wilburn, Zolot says. She owes the IRS more than $106,000.

The allegations are included in a bill of information, which is an alternative to an indictment. It is generally used in cases in which the accused has reached an agreement with prosecutors and the case is not taken before a grand jury.

Terry-Kidd’s court file includes a plea agreement, also filed Thursday, that has not been made public. Researcher Maria David contributed.