Former employee of Va. Beach realty company receives 3 years for fraud

Lindsay Kneff walking out of federal court July 6, 2017, after being sentenced to 37 months in prison. Credit: Walter Hildebrand

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Lindsay Kneff walked away from federal court Thursday, free to spend a few more weeks with her newborn son. In September, she will have to report to federal prison to serve a three-year sentence for embezzling more than a quarter million from her former employer, Rose and Womble.

Prosecutors said between 2014 and 2015, Kneff had a managerial job at the realty company in Virginia Beach. According to a statement of facts, she wrote checks on the company account to pay for her own expenses, stole more than 280 money orders and put them in her own name, and created fake vendors to cover up the crime.

Kneff was indicted in October of 2016 for six counts of mail fraud, altering Postal Service money orders and three counts of engaging in monetary transactions in criminally derived property. She later pleaded guilty to wire fraud and engaging in a monetary transaction in criminally derived property. A judge dismissed the remaining charges Thursday.

In a letter to the judge, Kneff said,”I fully admit that I have done wrong.” She said she wants to pay back Rose and Womble and raise her son, who was born in April. Kneff was asking for no more than a year and a month in prison, but prosecutors, who said she was motivated by “sheer greed,” were calling for a sentence within the guideline of three to four years. They argued it was important that the sentence would act as a deterrent for others.

The judge sentenced Kneff to three years and one month in prison, saying the crime was “too long, too intricate” and involved “too much money” to go lower. He said he would recommend that Kneff be incarcerated close to home and told her he wished her well.

Kneff’s attorney told the judge he was not using the birth of his client’s child as an excuse, but was asking him to consider it in allowing Kneff to report to prison at a later date.

Kneff has to report Sept. 11 to begin serving her time. Neither she nor her attorney had comments walking out of court Thursday morning. A representative of Rose and Womble said the company had no comment.