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Naperville woman charged with stealing $900,000 from her employer
By Christy Gutowski | Daily Herald Staff

Tami J. Brown


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Published: 9/4/2009 12:02 AM

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A former vice president of an Aurora-based engineering consulting company is accused of stealing nearly $900,000 from her employer.

Tami J. Brown, 51, of Naperville, is expected to be indicted later this month on felony theft by deception charges. Police arrested her Aug. 26.

Brown is charged with stealing from January 2001 to March 2008 while working for Engineering Systems, Inc., which is headquartered in Aurora but has offices in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Missouri and Texas.

Authorities said the once-trusted employee used ESI corporate credit cards for her own personal use, such as to pay bills or go on vacation, while she oversaw the accounting and bookkeeping departments.

Brown, hired in 1987 when the company began, was able to hide the theft scheme by doctoring internal books, authorities said. After someone spotted the accounting inaccuracies, in 2007, an outside forensic accountant was brought in to assist with an internal investigation.

Brown resigned March 18, 2008.

Besides the criminal charges, ESI is suing Brown and her husband, Alfred, for more than $2.4 million. In the lawsuit, company officials also accuse her husband of conspiring with his wife to defraud the company. He, though, is not facing any criminal charges.

She is accused of stealing $869,330.61, according to the arrest warrant. The lawsuit alleges Brown made off with more - $876,581.20. Brown hasn't paid back a dime, according to the lawsuit.

"The company is not at all in jeopardy," said Michael Stevenson, ESI's president. "Business is strong. It's one of the unfortunate things that sometimes come up in business. We're dealing with it as any other company would and are moving forward."

Brown, of the 200 block of Fiala Woods Court, was released the same day of her Aug. 26 arrest after she posted the required 10 percent of a $500,000 bond. A DuPage County grand jury is expected to hear the case later this month. She will be arraigned Sept. 25.

Brown does not have a prior criminal record. If convicted, she faces either probation or up to 15 years in prison. She could not be reached for comment Thursday.