Fugitive bookkeeper apprehended in Utah after 8 years on the run sentenced to 90 months in prison for embezzling more than 2.2 million dollars


Date: November 8, 2022

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

INDIANAPOLIS — Jody Russell Trapp, of Indianapolis, was sentenced to 90 months in federal prison for wire fraud, money laundering and tax evasion.

According to court documents, from July 2009 through December 2011, Trapp was a bookkeeper for Shelton Machinery, Inc., a Fishers-based distributor of advanced machines, drill-tap machines, production saws, and band saws. As a bookkeeper for Shelton Machinery, Trapp's duties included overseeing the preparation and mailing of checks to outside vendors.

Between September 2009 and December 2011, Trapp stole more than $2.2 million from Shelton Machinery by diverting checks made payable to one of Shelton Machinery's suppliers into his personal bank account. To accomplish his theft and to conceal his actions, Trapp prepared fictitious or duplicate invoices for work that had already been billed and paid, as well as checks to pay the fictious or duplicate invoices.

Trapp was arrested in January 2012. On June 8, 2012, Trapp was charged by Information and a petition to plead guilty was filed with the federal court on November 9, 2012. A change of plea and sentencing hearing was scheduled for March 7, 2013. Less than two weeks before the hearing, however, Trapp absconded from his residence, where he'd been ordered by the court to remain while on pretrial release.

Trapp's whereabouts remained unknown until 2021, when Deputy U.S. Marshals located him living under an assumed name in Utah. Trapp was arrested in October 2021 and transported back to Indiana to face the still-pending charges. Trapp formally pleaded guilty to the criminal charges on July 19, 2022.

"Mr. Trapp has finally been held accountable for stealing millions of dollars from a company that trusted him and fleeing in an attempt to avoid the consequences," said Zachary A. Myers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. "The punishment imposed today demonstrates that those who try to obstruct and evade justice will ultimately be held accountable. I commend the FBI, IRS-Criminal Investigations, and our determined partners at the U.S. Marshals Service for their determined efforts to investigate and apprehend the defendant."

"The role of IRS Criminal Investigation becomes even more important in fraud cases like this due to the complex financial transactions that can take time to unravel," said Justin Campbell, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Chicago Field Office. "As we often see, the victims here are not only the taxpayers, but also the small businesses and individuals who suffer the financial harm."

"Mr. Trapp took advantage of his position and exploited his employer's trust to divert funds for his personal use and then vanished for years leaving no resolution for the business and its clients," said FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Herbert J. Stapleton. "The dedication of all the law enforcement agencies involved in locating him and bringing him back to face the court demonstrates that the FBI and our partners will continue to investigate and pursue those who choose to enrich themselves at the expense of others."

IRS-Criminal Investigation and the FBI investigated the case. The sentence was imposed by Chief Judge Tanya Walton Pratt. As part of the sentence, Judge Pratt ordered that Trapp be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for three years following his release from federal prison and ordered Trapp to pay $2,528,716.63 in restitution to his victims.

U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn E. Olivier who prosecuted this case.