By Associated Press - Wednesday, September 30, 2020

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The co-founder of a suburban St. Louis public relations firm has admitted in federal court that she stole nearly $800,000 from the company.

Federal prosecutors say 51-year-old Lynese M. Cargill pleaded guilty Wednesday to three wire fraud charges. In her plea, Cargill admitted stealing from the Chesterfield firm, Common Ground Public Relations, since about 2008.

Prosecutors say Cargill wrote about 80 company checks to herself worth nearly $200,000 combined. She used company credit cards for personal purchases amounting to nearly $542,000. And she used company funds to pay charges on personal credit cards totaling $38,500.

Another company co-founder, Denise Bentele, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after the hearing that no clients or client billings were involved in the schemes.

Cargill faces sentencing in January, and must repay the stolen money.

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