Ex-Bronner Bros. employee gets prison time for embezzlement scheme

A former Bronner Bros. employee accused of pocketing more than $3.3 million from the prominent African-American hair care products company will be serving time behind bars.

Veria Fields was sentenced Thursday to 28 months in federal prison and ordered to pay Bronner Bros. $3,330,828 in restitution.

Fields, 54, was the accounts receivable manager at the Marietta company. From 2006 through 2010, she swindled the company by offering customers unauthorized discounts ranging from five to 15 percent, if they made account payments in cash, U.S. Attorney John Horn said.

To cover up the money shortages, Fields used her position to transfer money between customer accounts. She also wrote off portions of customers’ bills.

“Small businesses depend on their finance and accounting personnel to safeguard the financial health of the company and its employees,” Horn said. “This defendant is charged with violating this trust and helped herself to millions of the company’s dollars over several years.”

Fields had been under investigation by the FBI and was indicted by a federal grand jury last March. She was convicted in November after pleading guilty to nine counts of mail fraud.

“[The] sentencing of Ms. Fields to federal prison will provide her with significant time to reflect on her ill-conceived greed driven theft scheme that diverted over $3 million dollars from her company to her own bank account,” said J. Britt Johnson, special agent in charge in the FBI Atlanta field office.