EMPLOYEE ADMITS EMBEZZLING

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A woman who admitted giving false credentials to get a bookkeeping job at Groggins Plastics Inc. in Fincastle, Va., pleaded guilty Feb. 11 to embezzling $130,000 from the firm.

Annis Jane Hobratschk, 39, admitted she falsified payroll checks, personally cashed other company checks — including $95,000 meant for federal payroll withholding taxes — and used company money to obtain insurance for her daughter in Texas. She will be sentenced in April.

Groggins Plastics, which employs 80-100, produces injection molded spools, mailboxes, bathtub braces and a variety of retail products. Sales figures for the firm were not available.

About $100,000 of the loss was covered by insurance, company owner and President Philip Groggins said in a telephone interview from company headquarters.

Groggins also has the ability to take Hobratschk's assets, but said the company is more likely to take legal action against the two local banks that cashed company checks for Hobratschk, who was never a company signatory.

The loss will not affect company operations, and did not involve suppliers, Groggins said. But company hiring and banking procedures have been changed as a result of the incident, he said.

``Our background checks are a lot more thorough than just a criminal check on a Social Security number,'' he said.

Hobratschk told police she used a false Social Security number when she applied for the job.

The company also has changed its banking procedures.

Since payroll tax deduction checks are usually made out to banks, Groggins said it was impossible to tell if the funds actually were passed on to the IRS when the checking account was reconciled. The company now marks each check ``for federal deposit only.''

Hobratschk, who was using the alias Jenna Drum during her 16-month stay at Groggins Plastics, faces as many as 340 years in prison, although a six-year sentence is more likely under state sentencing guidelines.

Prosecutors had dropped 20 of the 40 charges leveled against Hobratschk in an agreement for her plea.