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Former employee pleads guilty to embezzling $450,000 from Southwestern Energy

A former SouthwesternEnergy Co. employee has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than$450,000 from the company, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Kendra Walker of Houston was convicted of four counts ofwire fraud, each carrying a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison and a$250,000 maximum fine, or twice the pecuniary gain or loss, U.S. AttorneyKenneth Magidson said in a DOJ news release.

Walker worked in Southwestern's accounts payabledepartment when she manipulated the company's payment system to transmit moneyinto accounts under her control, instead of to legitimate vendors, the DOJsaid. She then billed the company for invoices vendors did not submit. Walkercarried out the embezzlement from February 2014 to February 2015, making$452,026, according to the release.

Walker was permitted to remain on bond pending ahearing scheduled for June 26.