Business News

Ex-employee gets two years for stealing from Belltech Group

Prosecutors say Franklin woman stole more than $61,000 from Lafayette construction company.

Michelle Leann Berry-Ortemond, 41, will serve two years in prison for stealing $61,000 from Lafayette-based construction company Belltech Group when she was employed there from February 2010 to April 2011.

According to a news release from U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley’s office, the Franklin woman was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Patricia Minaldi on one count of wire fraud.

According to her guilty plea, on Jan. 13, 2011, Berry-Ortemond forged Belltech Group owner Michael Bellard's signature without his authority on a $3,950 check from the company's business account. The check was drawn on Business First Bank in Lafayette and resulted in an electric signal to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, where the check was cleared.

Judge Minaldi also ordered Berry-Ortemond to serve three years of supervised release and pay $55,000 restitution.

In addition to forging and cashing checks, Berry-Ortemond initiated wire transfers and accessed a line of credit in the corporation’s name without consent.