A longtime former employee of Clyde's Restaurant Group who stole more than $640,500 pleaded guilty in Washington federal district court today.
Nancy Preston, formerly the corporate controller at Clyde's, where she oversaw the company's centralized accounting function, was charged in August with mail fraud in a decade-long embezzlement scheme.
Preston, a 55-year-old resident of Vienna, Va., agreed to turn over $258,000 in stock awards and must pay back an additional $389,069, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia said today. U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras scheduled sentencing for December 12. Preston's plea agreement said the trial judge will determine the punishment.
Prosecutors said Preston diverted money from Clyde's to make payments on a personal credit card. Preston was also accused of using a company vendor to buy goods for personal use. Preston was the corporate controller at Clyde's, which owns restaurants in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, from 1992 to 2011.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said Preston tried to hide her role in the scheme. Preston, according to the government, changed invoices to show that Clyde's had purchased different items. Credit card purchases, prosecutors said, were categorized as corporate officer training expenses.
Preston's attorneys, Peter Greenspun and Jonathan Shapiro of Greenspun, Shapiro, Davis & Leary, in Fairfax, Va., were not immediately reached for comment.
Greenspun said in court papers that Preston "has been cooperating fully with the United States in this matter" for nine months, meeting with FBI agents and prosecutors.
Virginia Cheatham, an assistant U.S. attorney in the fraud and public corruption section, declined to comment. The U.S. Attorney's Office did not provide comment about the case.