WILMINGTON - Joan Donald, 55, of Ocean View, was sentenced on Wednesday to 51 months in federal prison on federal wire fraud and tax evasion charges, according to a United States Attorney for the District of Delaware news release.
According to court documents and statements made in open court, the news release said, Donald worked as an administrative assistant and quasi-bookkeeper for Dovetail, Inc., a high-end interior design and construction business located in Bethany Beach. Beginning in at least 2014, the defendant began defrauding Dovetail and its owner by paying herself a shadow salary, paying her personal credit card bills using the business’s bank account, and funneling money to her husband in various ways, including by fraudulent checks and Square payments.
In total, according to the news release, the defendant embezzled more than $1.1 million from Dovetail and its owner.
U.S. Attorney David Weiss said of the sentence “The owner of Dovetail, Connie Britell, was a force of nature who built her business from the ground up.
“Over the years, Ms. Britell placed more and more trust in the defendant, eventually giving the defendant control over company finances. The defendant abused that trust.
“Month after month for at least seven years, defendant Donald drained Dovetail’s accounts until there was nothing left. In doing so, the defendant exploited an elderly woman in declining health who had placed full faith in her.”
Chief U.S. District Judge Colm F. Connolly pronounced sentence.