A Crown Point woman was sentenced to 46 months Thursday for stealing $490,000 from her job for vacations, drugs and plastic surgery.
Loraine Duchscher, 50, pleaded guilty Jan. 12 in the U.S. District Court in Hammond to three counts of wire fraud, filings show.
Federal prosecutors allege she was a serial conwoman who may have defrauded at least three different employers.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Lupa wrote Duchscher lied repeatedly — including submitting two fake doctor’s notes — to delay her sentencing.
After she didn’t show for an Oct. 3 sentencing, probation officers contacted the doctor. The doctor wrote back that she never treated Duchscher for either condition.
A judge issued an arrest warrant.
Duchscher said she would turn herself in on Oct. 5. Three hours later, FBI agents found her near her parents’ house. She lied about who she was.
She also claimed she was unemployed but probation officers learned she had been working as an office manager for a different company since April 2021. The new job flagged “discrepancies” after her arrest and planned an audit. She hasn’t been charged in those allegations.
As a result, prosecutors added another nine months to her suggested prison sentence, according to court filings.
Under the federal case, Duchscher worked as an office manager for Pyro Shield in Crown Point from March 2017 to December 2019.
She had “unsupervised access” to its cash, financial records and payroll.
Prosecutors allege she falsified payroll to add $311,000 over time to her checks, then updated fake entries in its bookkeeping system.
She also cut over 100 unauthorized checks totaling $180,000 that she or an “unwitting” co-worker cashed for her.
Duchscher used the money for “lavish vacations” and “gratuitous” plastic surgery. She booked flights to San Diego and Las Vegas, a California rental home, bought Universal Studios tickets, and clothes.
She bought “thousands” in cocaine for herself and a boyfriend, documents allege.
It took a “heavy toll” on the company. Pyro Shield sued her in Lake Superior Court. A judge awarded nearly $1 million in damages in 2020.
At a prior job, court documents also allege Duchscher took $53,000 by charging to a Munster sales company’s credit card or via cash advances while she worked as their bookkeeper in 2014 and 2015.
She treated herself to furniture, cocaine and plastic surgery, according to court filings.
She pleaded guilty in Lake Superior Court and got one year probation in 2017. She was on probation when stealing from Pyro Shield, records show.