Former office manager for the Rapid City Rush hockey team sentenced for wire fraud and tax evasion

 

Date: October 23, 2020

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

Rapid City, South Dakota – Jennifer Durham was sentenced on October 19, 2020, to 37 months in federal prison, and was ordered to pay $700,000 in restitution to The Rapid City Rush, $186,277.00 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service, and a $300 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

"Mrs. Durham used her position as Rush's finance manager to embezzle hundreds of thousands of dollars for her own personal benefit. She did so for a period of nine years," said Adam Steiner, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation division in the St. Louis Field Office. "Mrs. Durham's sentencing is a direct result of how serious the courts take federal crimes."

Between February 2010 and June 2019, Durham, while employed as the office manager for Rapid City Professional Hockey, LLC (RCPH), stole $700,000.00 from RCPH. As part of her duties, Durham was responsible for the business accounting records and recording and depositing cash receipts on behalf of RCPH. As part of her scheme to defraud, Durham caused fraudulent payments to herself in excess of her salary agreement, made unauthorized wire transfers from RCPH's bank account to pay her personal credit card, made unauthorized wire transfers from RCPH's bank account to her personal account, and fraudulently diverted cash proceeds for her own personal use. In order to cover up her theft, Durham made false entries into the RCPH accounting records to give the illusion the money she was stealing was spent on legitimate business expenses.

During the same time period, Durham also willfully attempted to evade, or defeat taxes imposed under the Internal Revenue Code. Durham accomplished this by underreporting her income from tax years 2010 through 2018 by a total of $688,867.67, resulting in a tax loss of $186,277.00.

The investigation was conducted by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Patterson prosecuted the case.

Durham was ordered to self-surrender to the U.S. Marshals Service on January 19, 2021, to begin serving her custody sentence.