WOBURN (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) – A Worcester woman was sentenced to two years in jail after she pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $50,000 from her employer in Waltham by submitting fake tuition reimbursements, illegally using the company credit card for personal use, and seeking reimbursement for expenses for which she never paid.
The judge sentenced 26-year-old Heather Christianson, who pleaded guilty on Nov. 5 to three counts of larceny over $250, to two years in jail. She is also ordered to pay $49,999 in restitution.
According to authorities, Christianson was employed as an executive assistant at Autodesk, Inc. from Oct. 2007 until Sept. 2011. During a routine internal audit, company officials discovered that Christianson's expenses were unusually high and launched an internal investigation.
It was discovered that Christianson had used three separate schemes to defraud her company. One scheme involved a benefit program in which Autodesk encouraged employees to continue their education by providing reimbursement for tuition expenses.
Christianson submitted and was paid for bogus tuition incurred for courses she never took, at three separate colleges which she did not attend. She falsely reported to Autodesk that she had earned "A"s in 12 separate evening and summer classes, including, a course in "Ethical Business Decision Making."
A second scheme Christianson used to steal from her employer involved falsely claiming reimbursement for certain company expenses. She simply saved various receipts for goods and services already paid for by the company and submitted them for personal reimbursement.
Christianson also abused a company credit card to buy personal items for herself, such as a camera, and gifts and gift cards for friends and relatives.
After being questioned by company officials, and admitting to the allegations, she was fired from her job on September 7, 2011.