DeKALB – A DeKalb woman has been accused of defrauding her former employer, Cole Pallet, out of more than $1.4 million over a six-year span by cashing unauthorized checks, transferring funds and buying personal items on the company’s Amazon account and having them sent to her home.
Paa’Shion T. Mhoon, 33, of the 1500 block of Farmstead Lane, DeKalb, was charged with theft over $1 million and misappropriation of financial institution property over $1 million, both Class X felonies, continuing financial crimes enterprise and three counts of forgery, according to DeKalb County court records. If convicted, she faces between six to 30 years in prison.
The charges followed an investigation by the DeKalb Police Department and DeKalb-based Cole Pallet, 1600 S. Seventh St., where police said Mhoon had access to the company’s payroll department, according to court records.
A Cole Pallet employee on Friday, May 26, said that Brett Cole, the company’s president, was not available for comment.
Cole Pallet – a pallet manufacturer and supply distributor – is headquartered in DeKalb and also operates in Wisconsin, Missouri and Texas, according to its website. Mhoon did not appear on its list of employees on May 26.
DeKalb police said that the investigation into an alleged financial crime at Cole Pallet started May 16 after an internal audit at Cole Pallet found an employee made improper transactions and online purchases. Mhoon was arrested May 25 at her home, DeKalb police said.
DeKalb Circuit Court Judge Philip Montgomery on May 26 ordered Mhoon held at DeKalb County Jail in Sycamore on a $500,000 bond. She would need to post 10% of that, or $50,000 and also be placed on electronic home monitoring to be released from jail.
On May 26, the DeKalb County State’s Attorney’s Office filed a motion for a source of bail hearing – asking that any money Mhoon posts for bail be scrutinized by a judge. Montgomery granted the state’s request.
“Based on the evidence that the defendant stole a substantial sum of money and transferred that money into personal accounts that she has control and access to, the state believes the defendant should be required to provide affidavits stating the legitimate and lawful sources of any funds used to post bail in this matter,” Assistant State’s Attorney Brooks Locke wrote in the filing.
Montgomery ordered the case continued until 2:30 p.m. May 31 in front of Circuit Court Judge Marcy Buick. He also ordered Mhoon to surrender her passport, according to court records.
Mhoon worked at the company from 2014 – the same year Brett and John Cole founded the company – to May, records show. Her duties included issuing checks for payroll and buying work-related items to be used at the business.
She took those duties into her personal life, however, prosecutors allege, concocting a fraud scheme for years.
Between Aug. 29, 2020, and April 15, 2023, Mhoon allegedly wrote at least 109 unauthorized checks to herself, which totaled more than $115,000, according to court records. During that time, she also allegedly forged the signature of Brett Cole on at least 73 of the checks, according to court records.
Between Aug. 18, 2017, and April 28, 2023, Mhoon also allegedly made unauthorized bank transfers from the company’s bank account to her personal bank account. The transfers totaled more than $1.3 million, according to court records.
As part of her job, Mhoon had access to the company’s Amazon retail account, records show, where she changed the company’s delivery address to her home address on Farmstead Lane.
Since January, prosecutors allege, Mhoon ordered more than $4,300 worth of items on the company’s Amazon account to her home. Court records allege the items were not authorized and did not serve a legitimate business purchase.