Former Bader Rutter CFO will plead guilty to embezzling $2.7 million from company

Vicki Berka, a former chief financial officer for Milwaukee-based advertising and marketing firm Bader Rutter & Associates charged with embezzling money from the company, will plead guilty to two of the charges against her.

Berka was originally charged with two counts each of wire fraud and money laundering in a scheme in which she allegedly used her position within the company and her bank login credentials to embezzle approximately $2.7 million over three years.

A plea agreement filed Aug. 15 shows that Berka has agreed to plead guilty to one count each of wire fraud and money laundering. Between both counts, Berka faces up to 30 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines.

The other two charges against Berka will be dismissed as part of the plea agreement. Berka has also been ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1.2 million to Bader Rutter, as well as $1.5 million to The Cincinnati Insurance Company.

Berka was CFO of Bader Rutter from February 2006 to March 2018. The charges brought against her stem from incidents that occurred from July 2014 through September 2017.

According to a federal indictment filed against Berka, she was given access to the company’s Health Funding Account (HFA) and was the only person who could initiate and approve payments from the account.

As part of a scheme, Berka allegedly maintained a bank account in the name of “Furefriends, Inc.,” which is a former company that Berka owned and operated. The company dissolved in 2010 but its bank account, which Berka also controlled and operated, remained open. The indictment against Berka states she initiated several ACH transfers from Bader’s HFA to the Furefriends, Inc. bank account.

Ashley covers startups, technology and manufacturing for BizTimes. She was previously the managing editor of the News Graphic and Washington County Daily News. In past reporting roles, covering education at The Waukesha Freeman, she received several WNA awards. She is a UWM graduate. In her free time, Ashley enjoys watching independent films, tackling a new recipe in the kitchen and reading a good book.

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