New York

Accountant admits stealing $3 million from grain shipper

A New York accountant has admitted stealing at least $3.1 million from a Minnesota-based grain shipping company she worked for at the Port of Albany.

Diane Backis, of Athens, New York, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in Albany to mail fraud and filing a false income tax return. U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian says Backis not only stole from Cargill, Inc., but caused at least $25 million in losses to the company by manipulating customer invoices and payments.

Backis admitted she stole hundreds of customer payments over 10 years. As part of her guilty plea, she agreed to pay at least $3.5 million in restitution to Cargill and to forfeit her house and other assets.

She faces up to 20 years in prison when she's sentenced on March 28.