Woman Embezzled $2.89 Million To Finance Shopping Addiction

Shopping addiction is really sad, especially when it compels otherwise normal people to do something insane like steal $2.89 million dollars just to buy shoes and jewelry.

From WYFF:

The crimes took place between January 1998 and December 2005 when [Brenda] Rivard was CFO of Lube USA.
Rivard stole the money by transferring more funds than necessary into the payroll account. She would then spend the excess money by writing herself checks from the payroll account.

She also spent about $180,000 using the corporate American Express card on personal items, most notably purchased from Nieman Marcus.

Lube USA is a privately-owned company headquartered in Japan that was formed in 1987. The company makes lubricating equipment for the manufacturing industry. The Greenville company is a distributor of the company.

Prosecutor Sylvia Harrison said, “She then falsified the bank statements that were sent back to Japan. They had no idea that she was taking this money.”

Lube USA CEO Nobuo Ochi said, “Oh my God — I mean, I didn’t know what she was doing.”

Investigators said that about $2.89 million was stolen over an eight-year period. They found 2,400 articles of clothing, about 850 pairs of shoes and 412 pieces of jewelry stored in Rivard’s basement.

Defense attorney Chip Price said, “I’ve known Brenda for 15 years and would never have guessed that something like this would happen.”

Price said, “I can’t find anything else that it was used for. It was not put in their home. There was no gambling. There were no drugs. I just don’t understand this.”

Brenda’s embezzlement meant that for several years the company’s employees were not able to receive raises and some were laid off. Now her assets have been liquidated to pay restitution to her employer, but its not nearly enough to repay what she stole. She will also have to serve at least 10 years of a 20 year sentence.

If you have a shopping addition, you need to get help.

Woman Stole $2.89 Million, Bought Clothes, Shoes, Jewelry [WYFF]


Edit Your Comment

  1. RhymePhile says:

    And it’s obvious from the photo that she didn’t wear any of her ill-gotten couture to court.

  2. Dead Wrestlers Society says:

    They should put her and the wife who spent all that crazy money at Starbucks and such on a reality show together. They could ride around the country like Thelma and Louise.

  3. bohemian says:

    People are marketed to non stop with the message that they are not sufficient people without said purchases.
    I really think this is triggering something in people with a pre-existing set of issues and mental illnesses.

    The accountant for a local country club just got 15 years for doing the exact same thing. She was gleaning the tip money out of the wait staff to the tune of 1.4 mil. The money was spent on trips and buying crap.

  4. l951b951 says:

    That 3rd quoted paragraph is for people like me who read “Lube USA” and snicker.

  5. axiomatic says:

    She’s going to need a life supply of “Lube USA” for where she is going.

  6. Murph1908 says:

    Make that

    “From WTFF:”

    adding an F for ‘flying’

    This isn’t about marketing, it’s a clear case of extreme obsessive-compulsive behavior. One guy types every number from 1 to 1 million over the course of years. One woman buys shoes. It’s just that calculator tape isn’t as expensive as Neiman Marcus shoes.

  7. AriellaFaerie says:

    youd think that she couldve afforded a non mullet haircut. lol.

  8. MENDOZA!!!!! says:

    she should have used some of that ill-gotten cash for some well-needed hair styling.
    nice mullett.

  9. MENDOZA!!!!! says:

    @AriellaFaerie: damnit!

  10. Buran says:

    Hey, how about paying the money to those who lost their jobs, and thus underwent pain and suffering?

  11. Parapraxis says:

    business up front, and PARTY IN THE BACK!!!

  12. parad0x360 says:

    She should have spent about a million of that on a nice makeover because…she doesnt look like someone who spent 2 mill on clothing.

  13. Starfury says:

    I’m amazed that she managed to get away with it for so long. And she does need a new hairstyle.

  14. SoCalGNX says:

    I know someone who embezzeled quite a bit from a former employer. He got off scot free because he paid it back. He then had one of his buddies get him a nice job and then proceeded to pillage whatever he could in that capacity.

  15. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    Anyone else find the irony of the company being called “Lube USA”…? Anyone? Guess not.

  16. scarletvirtue says:

    @l951b951: You too, huh? Probably would’ve been far more interesting if it was the lube that my guttermind immediately thought of … hehe.

    And yeah – she seriously needs a new hairstyle. Although, the mullet would probably help her avoid being someone’s bitch when she goes away.

  17. nickripley says:

    @AriellaFaerie: Not a true mullet, but awful nonetheless.

  18. UpsetPanda says:

    @Murph1908: It’s not obsessive compulsive, it’s plain criminal action, that’s all it is. People with legitimate OCD shouldn’t be lumped into this woman who got greedy, saw that she could get a little extra money by cheating some people, and kept on doing it. This isn’t even a case of a woman who did it a few times, she kept on doing it simply because she thought she could. Not OCD, just criminal.

  19. UpsetPanda says:

    I also have to say, her husband didn’t suspect anything? She comes home with stuff from Neiman Marcus, and he doesn’t wonder, “gee, how did you get that on your pay, and every month?!” Shouldn’t he have wondered just a bit. Or did he become an enabler because he felt sorry for her? Looks like from the article that he was making some excuses for her, saying that he thinks she felt she needed those things because she was diabetic, couldn’t have kids, yadda yadda.

  20. scarletvirtue says:

    @CaffeinatedSquint: I think in her instance, the OCD would be considered hoarding. Albeit, hoarding that had a criminal basis (the ebezzlement). And I agree, people with OCD and the hoarding problem shouldn’t be lumped in with her.

    I want to know the same thing – how could her husband be *that* oblivious? I don’t know about anyone else here, but I know that if I came home with a lot of purchases from high-end stores – or even a lot of new purchases, period – I would be questioned on it!

  21. BigNutty says:

    Aside from the Lube USA joke(which is funny), this company obviously does not have an internal or external audit system in place. Almost any fraud can be caught with proper audits.

    When I was in the Vocational School Business, a requirement of using Federal Title IV funding was an outside audit to account for every penny that was received from the government.

  22. UpsetPanda says:

    @scarletvirtue: When I talk about my day with my fiancee, we talk about what we did and where we went. This woman must have a bottomless well of excuses and alibis! “I was at the grocery store.” “Did you get any more milk?” “No, but look at this amazing sweater set next door.” “Next door to the grocery store?” ….

  23. wring says:

    @l951b951: yes

  24. scarletvirtue says:

    @CaffeinatedSquint: My partner and I do the same thing, even though we keep separate checking accounts (with a joint account for HH expenses).

    I’d have a hell of a time coming up with excuses. When I was a teenager, I knew someone that was pretty much a pathological liar, and after a while, she had a hard time keeping track of her stories/lies! So that woman must be really, really damn good at coming up with those excuses.

  25. drjayphd says:

    Really, though, who knew there was so much money in lubrication? Clearly I’m in the wrong business.

  26. ThePopOversAreDone says:

    I mean I love shopping but this is like
    totally not cool!

  27. ahwannabe says:

    @CaffeinatedSquint: yeah, her husband probably didn’t have a clue. I am ashamed to admit this, but years ago when I was experiencing a (comparitively minor) shopping addiction, I would keep a stash of Goodwill and Salvation Army bags and receipts in the car. Then I would go shop at Anthropologie or someplace, remove the tags, ditch the original bag and receipt, put it in a thrift shop bag, and say “Look what I found at Goodwill!”


  28. Hoss says:

    Defense attorney says: “I’ve known Brenda for 15 years and would never have guessed that something like this would happen.”

    In other words, the crimes he’s defended her against over 15 years were much different?

  29. Boberto says:

    @drjayphd: Yeah, it’s a real stretch of my imagination too. Who’d a thunk it, with oil being so cheap nowadays?

  30. SOhp101 says:

    @scarletvirtue: If she has to pay full restitution, all of the shared assets are in danger of liquidation. As long as he plays dumb, he has some sort of defense (albeit a weak one since it’s been going on for so long) to prevent or at least delay Lube USA from seizing more assets.

    He blames her spending $2.89 million because she couldn’t have children and diabetes? Experiencing either one of those incidences in life is terrible for any person to face, but that is an insult to every single human that has gone through those ordeals to claim that those would somehow justify her behavior.

    She’s been doing this for EIGHT years. Maybe we can claim her actions as acts of terrorism and ship her out of the country so she can be tortured by an entity that is not recognized by the Federal Government? She doesn’t deserve to be treated like a human being. Random people who are abducted for no reason other than their ethnicity don’t get a sliver of due process that she received.

  31. scarletvirtue says:

    @SOhp101: Good point – he is probably trying to go for a CYA move, because he doesn’t want to lose everything due to his wife’s actions. (And I don’t blame him there.)

    His seeming to condone her actions by claiming that she was trying to “self-medicate” in her own way because of medical conditions is a horrible excuse. Like you’d said, it’s an insult to anyone that’s living with those same conditions, or worse.

    The stupidity of fellow humans makes me want to line them up and bitchslap them, just because.

  32. magus_melchior says:

    If you have a shopping addition, you need to get help.

    Doubly true if you used embezzled funds to build a shopping center addition to your home/office.
    (Psst, Meg: add a ‘c’!)

  33. Murph1908 says:

    I am not lumping all A/C people together. I have a friend who is diagnosed and on medication for it. When he’s not on it, he drives us all crazy with his shaking of the table, knocking down Axis and Allies infantry units, and shoving battleships up his nose. But he doesn’t do anything criminal or to this extreme degree.

    I think the woman in the story IS A/C, and has an acute and unique case. And yes, it’s criminal. I am not excusing her behavior either.

    To say I am lumping all A/C sufferers together with my comments would be like saying Ariallafarie is claiming all people with mullets are embezzlers.

  34. chatterboxwriting says:

    @scarletvirtue: We had a similar case around here, only it was an appointed judge’s wife and she embezzled about half a million dollars from the sewer authority where she worked. She was convicted and sentenced to jail and restitution, but everyone’s question was, “how did her husband not know, especially since he is supposed to be a good judge of character?” He was up for retention this year (he was appointed, but the public has to vote to retain appointed judges every 5 or 10 years) and he was voted out, mostly because of his wife’s crime.

  35. elisa says:

    Did anyone else notice that the restitution she paid and the value the company got from liquidating was only about a quarter of a million? This means the company lost TWO MILLION DOLLARS. If I was a worker there I’d be sooo pissed. The quarter of a million should be paid to them.

    And yes, she deserves the 10 years, and more.

    I wonder how she finally got caught?

    And, it’s probably a really good thing that the company is privately owned, in terms of stockholder screaming…I hope they tighten up their auditing procedures after this!