Ex-CEO accused of embezzling $ 15 million to fund lavish lifestyle | national news

STATESVILLE, NC (AP) – A former CEO has been accused of embezzling over $ 15 million from her employer and using stolen money to pay for a lavish lifestyle, including travel, jewelry and family weddings, according to federal prosecutors.

Donna Osowitt Steele, of Taylorsville, North Carolina, also used stolen money to fund personal businesses run by her family, according to a filing filed Friday by the Office of U.S. Attorney Dena King.

Steele is charged with one count of wire fraud. Court records online do not mention an attorney for her or a date for a first court appearance.

The company that employed Steele is not named in the court file. But prosecutors said it was a subsidiary of a foreign company and made carbide products used in saw blades for the lumber industry. The owners of the company live abroad, the file says.

Steele joined the company in 1999 and was its CEO when it was fired in January 2020.

Prosecutors said Steele used credit cards, checks and wire transfers to steal company funds. She reportedly charged around $ 255,000 for stays at the Plaza Hotel in New York City, over $ 500,000 for jewelry, over $ 200,000 for family wedding expenses and over $ 100,000 for flowers.

Steele also transferred more than $ 350,000 in embezzled money to a high-end clothing and furniture business she operated called Opulence by Steele, according to the court record.

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