SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — An ArkLaTex woman is accused of fraudulently claiming thousands of hours of vacation time for her husband, an hourly worker at the mill where she also was employed.
A federal grand jury has indicted 58-year-old Melissa H. Sepulvado, of Zwolle, on 25 counts of wire fraud, acting U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook’s office announced.
An FBI investigation found that the alleged fraud occurred from November 2014 through April 2017 while Sepulvado and her husband were employed at the Weyerhaeuser mill in Zwolle. Her primary duties as a senior support specialist were to review and approve hourly workers’ payroll entries.
Sepulvado regularly entered fraudulent vacation hours on her husband’s time sheet, federal prosecutors allege.
“Although her husband was eligible to receive 200 hours of paid vacation time each calendar year, Sepulvado entered and approved over 4,000 hours of paid vacation time for her husband for the calendar year 2016 alone,” says a statement from Hook’s office.
Sepulvado then allegedly tried to conceal the fraudulent pay requests by backdating the paid vacation hours to completed pay periods.
All told, she is accused of seeing that her husband was paid more than $145,000 in unearned wages.
The U.S. attorney’s office notes that an indictment is an accusation and that the accused is presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.