By Associated Press - Tuesday, January 12, 2021

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The co-founder of a suburban St. Louis public relations firm has been sentenced to nearly two years in federal prison for stealing nearly $800,000 from the company.

Lynese Cargill, 51, was sentenced Monday in St. Louis’ federal court to 21 months in prison, federal prosecutors for Missouri said in a news release. Cargill pleaded guilty last year to three wire fraud charges. In her plea, Cargill admitted stealing from the Chesterfield firm, Common Ground Public Relations, since about 2008.

Prosecutors said 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, has said that no clients or client billings were involved in the schemes.

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