Former CPA Gets 9-year Sentence for Thefts

Kimberly O'Dell, a former Fayetteville CPA who pleaded guilty last fall to stealing more than $1.56 million from her clients, was sentenced Thursday to nine years in prison by U.S. District Judge Jimm Hendren.

"Greed got the best of her," O'Dell's attorney, Ken Osborne, told the judge before the sentence was pronounced at the John Paul Hammerschmidt Federal Building in Fayettteville.

O'Dell, 51, admitted in a plea agreement to stealing from clients Tom and Monica Terminella and the University of Arkansas chapter of Phi Delta Theta fraternity from 2005 to 2008.

After failing to appear for trial in August 2009, O'Dell spent nearly two years on the run until she was arrested in New Orleans last June, living and working under an assumed name. She stayed in touch with her younger daughter, Amy, and was aware of the federal indictment, Hendren said.

On Sept. 8, O'Dell pleaded guilty to six counts of wire fraud, four counts of money laundering and one count of misuse of a U.S. Treasury Department name or symbol.

Hendren imposed the maximum recommended sentence of 108 months for each of the first 10 counts and one year for the 11th count, to run concurrently.

Earlier in the sentencing hearing, Monica Terminella spoke on her and her husband's behalf about the impact O'Dell's crime has had on them.

"Because of the horrible financial mess this person has put us through, I ask for the maximum sentence possible," Terminella said.

O'Dell, wearing a Washington County Detention Center orange jumpsuit, also had a chance to address the court and her victims.

Speaking softly but clearly, she said, "I'm sorry, Judge, for everything I've done. I've let down my family, my friends, and the people who trusted me with their money. I'm truly sorry."

Turning to face Terminella, she repeated, "I'm truly sorry."

After a short recess, Hendren addressed O'Dell before pronouncing the sentence.

Regarding the money she stole, Hendren said, "For all I know, that money may be stashed away in accounts in western Florida or New York. If you have it someplace, you need to cough it up."

The judge mentioned three other victims who weren't part of the case but who submitted victim statements: Suzie Stephens, Presidential Conversion Inc. and Wholesale Central Vacuum.

"And there probably are other victims we don't even know about," Hendren said.

He also ordered O'Dell to pay restitution of $1.31 million to the Terminellas and $147,300 to the fraternity. In addition, he imposed a $150,000 fine, but ordered the restitution be paid first.

In a news conference after the hearing, Connor Eldridge, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, said his office "will work aggressively" to find the money O'Dell stole.

He also said that "the door remains open" for other victims who weren't part of this case to pursue civil action against O'Dell.