Local Maersk employee sentenced to 17 months for embezzlement

A Graham woman who stole more than a quarter million dollars from her employer, Maersk Distribution Services, to feed her gambling and drug habits, has been sentenced to 17 months in prison.

Virginia Lee Uy, also known as Virginia Lee Uy Stanton, 47, forged check requests and altered vendor overpayment refunds to finance her own lifestyle, said the U.S. Attorney's Office.

U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle sentenced Uy in Tacoma today to 17 months in prison, three months of electronic home detention, three years of supervised release and 40 hours of community service for wire fraud. She was also required to provide her employer with $263,599 in restitution.

According to federal law enforcement officials, Uy submitted false check requests to the company accounting department in South Carolina. She had those checks sent to her attention. In other cases, she had checks sent to vendors.

When those vendors remitted checks to Maersk for overpayments, Uy altered the checks and deposited them in her bank account.

The fraud was discovered when a vendor reported that his overpayment remittance check had been altered. Uy resigned from the company in June 2009. She worked in Maersk's Sumner office.

The fraud effected more than the company itself. Because of the missing funds, her employer missed revenue targets for 2008, and employees missed bonus payments that year, said prosecutors.