Mountaineer horse racetrack's ex-bookkeeper guilty of embezzling
A federal jury on Friday convicted a former bookkeeper at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort of embezzling $1.3 million from the Horseman's Purse Account and using part of the proceeds on her home in Virginia.
Anita Ambler, also known as Anita Webb, 49, of Reva, Va., was convicted of 11 counts of mail fraud, 10 counts of wire fraud and four counts of making transactions using criminal proceeds.
The jury heard evidence that Ambler managed and controlled the Horseman's account, which contains money deposited by horsemen as well as proceeds from race winnings from Mountaineer's thoroughbred racetrack near Chester, W.Va.
Prosecutors in Wheeling, W.Va., contended that Ambler used forged checks and false deposits to hide the thefts, which occurred from March 2005 until she quit her job in August 2010.
According to prosecutors, Ambler issued checks in the names of family members and in the name of a business she owned called Forgotten Farms. Prosecutors said she covered the thefts by making false entries in Mountaineer's Internet-based accounting system.
An audit conducted after Ambler left her job uncovered the thefts.
Prosecutors said Ambler used about $200,000 of the stolen money on her home and 5 acres of land in the community of Reva, about 80 miles southwest of Washington.
Ambler could face up to 20 years imprisonment for each of the mail and wire fraud charges and 10 years imprisonment on each of the transacting charges. She faces hefty fines on each count.
The jury also found that Ambler must forfeit her real estate in Reva and the vehicle she purchased with proceeds from the scheme. She faces a forfeiture judgment of more than $1.3 million.
Michael Hasch is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7820 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.