Anna Maria Sites, aged 42, from Friendswood, has pleaded guilty to committing fraud against beverage company Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPSG).
Ms Sites was originally indicted in October 2018. She handled human resources and accounting for a company called FulFill Plus. It is based in northwest Houston and managed various rebate advertising campaigns for DPSG across the US.
The rebates included returned bottle caps or for switching to DPSG brand drinks in restaurant/convenience store soda dispensers. DPSG, based in Plano, Texas, paid FulFill to administer those campaigns.
Ms Sites was indicted along with Joseph Isaac, the operator of FulFill. He is still awaiting trial in the case [UPDATE 09-11-19 Mr Isaac has now pleaded guilty as well]. As an aside, for a while, Ms Sites and Mr Isaac also owned a couple of restaurants together. They were based in the Montrose area of Houston (Bibi’s Kitbar and Eleven XI).
The fraud was not sophisticated at all. In 2014 and 2015 Ms Sites told DPSG to issue rebate checks to FulFill to reimburse the company for rebate claims that she had processed. In fact she hadn’t made the payments to the claimants. Of course, the restaurants kept pushing for their $75 rebate check. Eventually, after multiple complaints, Ms Sites would issue the rebate check.
The original indictment alleged that the fraud started as far back as 2010 and that some of the misappropriated funds were used for the personal use of the defendants. Funds was also allegedly used to cover general expenses of FulFill. The indictment didn’t quantify the extend of the alleged fraud.
The plea deal only refers to a specific rebate campaign in 2014 and 2015 and makes no mention of any personal gain by Ms Sites. She will be sentenced in December 2019 and faces up to five years in prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine.