Indy woman gets 29 months for bilking employer

INDIANAPOLIS - An Indianapolis woman has been sentenced to 29 months in federal prison for allegedly bilking her former employer out of more than $400,000.

Brenda K. Helpling was sentenced Thursday by a federal judge who also ordered her to pay more than $410,000 in restitution. The 52-year-old had pleaded guilty in November to mail fraud.

Court documents show Helpling had been the controller of Frakes Engineering, with check-writing authority over its checking accounts.

She was accused of writing 26 unauthorized checks from its business checking account totaling more than $200,000 and hiding those with fictitious vendors.

Prosecutors said Helpling also wrote 24 checking totaling more than $134,000 from the firm and made payments on her personal credit card accounts. She also used other methods to embezzle another $75,000 from the company.

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