A former accountant for the Nebraska Rural Electric Association has been sentenced to 10 months in federal prison and ordered to pay nearly $350,000 in restitution for stealing from the association.
The U.S. Attorney’s office reports 42-year-old Sarah Batenhorst of Lincoln has been sentenced for wire fraud. Batenhorst will have to serve three years of supervised release after completing her prison sentence. She has been ordered to pay $343,773.55 in restitution.
Federal prosecutors say Batenhorst worked as an assistant bookkeeper and then an accountant from 2006 to 2016 at the Nebraska Rural Electric Association (NREA) with access to the NREA checking account. In 2014, Batenhorst increased her salary without authorization. A year later, Batenhorst, increased printing and set-up rates for the Rural Electric Nebraska magazine. She used the additional money to pay her own Discover credit card account as well as personal loans.
Batenhorst also wrote checks on the NREA account to pay her Discover card and personal loans. She altered copies of the checks and altered NREA bank statements. Batenhorst used wire transfers from Nebraska in interstate commerce to the bank used by Discover Card, located in Delaware.