Feds: Woman embezzled more than $540,000 from employer

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A St. Joseph woman faces federal charges for allegedly swindling more than $540,000 from her employer in a phony billing scheme.

Kris Mari Fratzke, 53, faces two charges including wire fraud and filing a false tax return. If found guilty, she faces up to 20 years in prison and hefty fines.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan alleges the scheme happened between 2013 and 2019 when Fratzke was the chief financial officer of Flare Fittings, a Kalamazoo-based pipe manufacturer.

Fratzke is accused of creating a shell company, Mid America Fittings, that would look like a legitimate supplier. She then made fake invoices for the shell company and paid them with money from Flare Fittings.

Over six years, she allegedly issued 235 checks — totaling more than $540,000 — to her shell company then transferred the money to her personal account. She is accused of not declaring that money to the IRS.