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Posted at 1:43 PM ET, 03/ 1/2011

Woman guilty of bilking fish company

By Dana Hedgpeth

A Norfolk woman plead guilty Tuesday to embezzling $2.2 million from a fish and oyster company she worked for as a bookkeeper and allegedly using the money to pay off her credit cards.

Leslie M. Coffman, 60, pleaded guilty n U.S. District Court in Norfolk to committing mail fraud.

According to court documents, Coffman had been an employee for approximately 20 years with Ballard Fish & Oyster Co., Inc. in Norfolk, where she was responsible for administrative work and bookkeeping. The company produced, harvested and distributed clams and oysters.

According to the US attorneys office, Coffman allegedly embezzled funds from the company from 2005 through 2010 by creating false entries in the company records to "indicate certain corporate checks had been paid to transportation providers for the company."

But in fact Coffman would write these checks to pay off her personal credit card debt and mail them to the credit card companies each month.

The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Coffman faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. She is expected to be sentenced June 1.

By Dana Hedgpeth  | March 1, 2011; 1:43 PM ET
Categories:  Dana Hedgpeth, From the Courthouse, Virginia  
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Thanks for using the term, plead; so many journalists have, of late, demonstrated such insecurity in their language skills that they invariably use, pleaded, pleaded, pleaded ... which makes them look pretty uneducated.

Posted by: polecatx1 | March 1, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

They should have smelled something fishy going on !!

Posted by: Raidersfan2 | March 1, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Get'em Ms. Coffman...get your piece of the's called profit sharing... No need for the union! All that fraud, you should have rewrote your job description and gave yourself a raise!!

Posted by: whatsreallygoingon | March 1, 2011 6:28 PM | Report abuse

How does someone steal 2.2 million dollars a nobody notices for five years??

Posted by: Nghbrhdwatch | March 1, 2011 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Why was this crime tried in a federal court and not in a local court?

Beware the over reaching of the US Justice Department.

Posted by: | March 1, 2011 6:56 PM | Report abuse

And what does a bookeeper buy with $2.2 million over five years?

She paid off credit cards-- what did she buy with the cards? Gold bullion?

It's not just enough to say she paid off credit cards and let it go at that, unless she was paying down the US attorney's mortgage.

Posted by: blasmaic | March 1, 2011 7:07 PM | Report abuse

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