Culbertson Woman Sentenced To Six Months For Wire Fraud

Sheri Forbregd Gossage, former IT director for the Poplar School District, has been sentenced to six months in prison with two years supervised release for theft of federal funding from the Poplar School District.

Gossage, of Culbertson, entered a voluntary plea of guilty to wire fraud April 29.

As part of her supervised release, Gossage will submit to all searches with or without a warrant by any probation officer based on reasonable suspicion. She must participate in a mental health treatment program as deemed necessary by her probation officer. Gossage must abstain from the consumption of alcohol and shall no enter establishments where alcohol is the primary item of sale. She must submit to substance abuse testing, must not ingest or inhale any synthetic drugs, must not obtain or possess a medical marijuana card, consent to third-party disclosure to any employer and must provide her probation officer with any financial information upon request.

The initial charges state that beginning in February 2014 and continuing until about July 2017, Gossage “intentionally misapplied, embezzled, stole and obtained by fraud and otherwise without authority knowingly converted to her own use and the use of others, property valued at more than $5,000, that was owned by, and under the care, custody and control of such an agency of state and local government, that is, [Gossage] embezzled, converted and misapplied monies and funds by using the Poplar School District credit cards for personal use.”

The court’s offer of proof states that Gossage worked at the Poplar School District as the IT Director and earned approximately $70,000 per year. In July 2017, the school informed her that she needed to attend drug rehab or she would lose her job. A month later, the business manager for the district discovered Gossage fraudulently used the district credit card for personal benefit from February 2014 to July 2017.

The business manager found fraudulent invoices for items that had no apparent school use, including orders from Amazon which never made it to the school. Gossage instead had packages sent directly to her or other individuals. One eyewitness stated that Gossage had started using the district credit card by accident before realizing it but justifying the purchases by stating she deserved it because she worked so hard.”

The total embezzled by Gossage was approximately $89,043.81. She was released into the custody of the United States Marshals Service.

The felony charge of wire fraud carries with it a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment, $250,000 in fines and three years supervised release.

Not included in the guilty plea was the charge of “theft from a state and local government receiving federal funding.” This was the lesser of the two felonies Gossage had been charged with and was dropped as part of a plea agreement.