A former San Diego-based Hewlett Packard employee has pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $1 million in company funds to fuel a lofty personal shopping spree that included spa and resort visits, international airfare, Apple products and trips to Nordstrom.
The office of U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy confirmed that Holli Coulman, 43, entered a guilty plea Wednesday in the scheme that afforded her a luxurious lifestyle on her company’s dime.
According to court documents, Coulman began working at Hewlett Packard (HP) in San Diego in June 2000 and served as an executive assistant to a company senior vice president from 2008 to May 2012.
In that assistant position, she received access to many American Express corporate credit cards authorized only for approved business expenses.
Coulman, however, used the cards to maintain a lavish lifestyle, using them to fund international trips, country club expenses and high-end clothing purchases. Court documents said she then falsely claimed those purchases as legitimate business expenses.
In all, Coulman allegedly stole approximately $954,292.31 from HP.
Her shopping spree tab included spending more than $100,000 at the La Costa Resort Spa and more than $43,000 at the Lodge at Pebble Beach and Casa Palermo at Pebble Beach. She also spent thousands at the Apple Store, Neiman-Marcus and Nordstrom. She also purchased more than $33,000 in motocross gear, according to prosecutors.
On top of those charges, Coulman admitted she used her company credit card to charge more than $350,000 in expenses accrued by her brother’s painting business in Colorado.
As revealed in her plea, Coulman attempted to cover up her theft of company funds by intercepting emails sent from HP program administrators that questioned her personal expenditures. Documents said she would often delete those emails before they could be reviewed by her boss.
In some instances, Coulman fabricated responses saying the expenses had been approved by her boss and submitted false receipts and invoices to cover her bases.
Coulman is scheduled for sentencing before a U.S. District judge on Dec. 1. She faces a maximum of 20 years behind bars for the wire fraud scheme, plus a $250,000 fine.