Public Safety

Former Durant bookkeeper sentenced to two and a half years for tax fraud

She is accused of embezzling over $1.7 million from former employer

CEDAR RAPIDS — A former bookkeeper and office manager for a Durant iron company was sentenced Tuesday to more than two years in federal prison for tax fraud, stemming from an embezzlement of over $1.7 million from the company over seven years.

Bobbie Hora-Guill, 46, of Bennett, pleaded guilty in April to making and subscribing a false tax return. Court documents show she allegedly stole over $1.7 million from Durant Iron and Metal Corp. from 2008 through 2015, when her employment ended. Company officials said she made false check entries, cashing checks for cash with higher amounts than what the bookkeeping system reflected and then pocketing the difference, according to court documents.

Hora-Guill hasn’t been charged in federal or state court for the alleged embezzlement but admitted to failing to report the $1.7 million on her tax returns, which resulted in $483,463 tax loss to the government.

U.S. District Senior Judge Linda Reade said she didn’t find that the alleged embezzlement was relevant conduct in the tax fraud case because prosecutors didn’t charge her with the theft.

Reade said it was “alarming” that someone can steal so much money and make false statements on her taxes then not pay the tax.

Murray Bell, Hora-Guill’s Bettendorf lawyer, asked for probation based on his client’s health issues. She isn’t able to work and mostly “lives in her recliner” at home because of medical issues, he said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Cole asked for 30 months, the top of the guideline sentencing for this crime. He also asked Reade to consider letters submitted to the court from the victims — company officials. In the letters, the officials said when they would confront Hora-Guill about the missing funds she would develop migraines and have to leave or start crying.

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They said Hora-Guill used her health issues as a “crutch or as a manipulative tactic,” Cole said.

Cole also pointed out that any medical issues she may have could be handled by medical professionals at any federal prison.

Hora-Guill, during the hearing, apologized to the company and her family and friends, who attended the hearing and have supported her.

Reade said probation wasn’t an option and sentenced her to 30 months in prison. She also noted that any medical issues could be handled by prison medical staff.

She didn’t order a fine because Hora-Guill will likely have to pay taxes and high penalties but did order her to pay prosecution fees of $1,158.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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