Leavenworth woman admits that she stole employees’ 401(k) contributions

KANSAS CITY, KAN. – A Kansas City area business owner has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of theft from an employee benefit fund, U.S. Attorney Tom Beall announced Thursday in a news release.

Brenda Wood, 48, of Leavenworth, pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of theft. In her plea, she admitted that while she was owner of PCI, a building cleaning service, and CDM, a construction and property management service, she set up a 401(k) plan, encouraged PCI and CDM employees to participate and began withholding employee contributions.

In 2011, according to the news release, employees learned that no contributions had been deposited into their accounts. Wood falsely assured them that their funds were being held in escrow when, in fact, she used their contributions for her own benefit and without their permission. The U.S. Attorney’s Office did not specify the amount stolen.

Sentencing is set for Oct. 24. She faces up to five years in federal prison and restitution.

A separate trial is set for Dec. 5 on 21 other counts including bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, wire fraud and committing a felony while on supervised release.