CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A Mount Pleasant woman has been sentenced to 36 months in federal prison for stealing over $1 million from a Lowcountry real estate company during a decades-long scheme.

Karen Rhett (59) worked as a bookkeeper Simmons Realty Company for over 25 years. She was in charge of maintaining accounting and business records, which gave her access to company funds.

Investigations by the FBI and IRS revealed that Rhett “devised a complex scheme to defraud the business through various means, including by embezzling funds through unrecorded general ledger deposits that she would transfer to herself.”

To cloak the suspicious activity, “Rhett often transferred funds between the related business entities before transferring the funds to herself” and “created false business expenses through fabricated invoices then wrote checks to herself for the same amount.”

The case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina. Rhett will serve 36 months in prison plus three years of supervised released.