EUGENE, Ore. – A Eugene woman pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday to embezzling millions from Weyerhaeuser over more than a decade.
Susan Tranberg, 61, admitted to mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and tax evasion, said Billy Williams, U.S. Attorney for the District of Oregon. She defrauded her former employer out of more than $4.5 million, he said.
The scheme started as early as June 2004 and continued through January 2019, according to court documents.
“Susan Tranberg used her intimate knowledge of the Weyerhaeuser Company to perpetrate a lengthy and complex fraud,” Williams said. “She went to great lengths to disguise her actions and mislead her colleagues.”
Williams also said Tranberg also didn’t pay taxes on the embezzled income.
Court documents show Tranberg submitted fraudulent invoices for payment to a fake vendor she created, named after her unwitting mother. Cahier’s checks were made payable to the fake vendor due to Tranberg’s position in the accounting and finance departments.
Then, when Weyerhaeuser transitioned to a new payment processing system in June 2014, Tranberg adjusted, court documents show. She created a fake vendor account in the system and forged colleague’s signatures and used others’ computer login credentials to create requests and approve the ongoing fraudulent payments. Tranberg would then receive cashier’s checks.
She faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. An aggravated identity theft conviction carries a two-year mandatory minimum sentence on top of any other prison sentence, Williams said.
As part of her plea agreement, Tranberg has agreed to pay $4,581,218 in restitution to Weyerhaeuser and $807,033 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.
Williams said Tranberg had worked at the company in Springfield for more than 40 years.