An Ocean Springs woman who admitted embezzling more than $90,000 from a man she worked for while he was sick and mostly hospitalized is facing civil action from the man that could cost her thousands in damages.
Ashley Bandyk, 28, pleaded guilty in March to felony embezzlement. Jackson County prosecutors have recommended a 10-year sentence, with three years under house arrest and the remainder under post-release supervision. In addition, the are recommending she pay full restitution of $91,213 and a $5,000 fine.
Her sentencing is set for April 19 in Jackson County Circuit Court. She has already paid $20,000 in restitution.
In the civil action, the man is seeking a total of $150,000 in compensatory and punitive damages from Bandyk. In addition, he wants all court and attorney fees covered in his case. His attorney has also subpoenaed Bandyk for a deposition in the civil suit.
Bandyk’s attorney, however, is asking a judge to issue a protective order to keep her from having to be deposed to avoid a violation of her constitutional rights against self-incrimination. The man’s attorney countered the claim, saying Bandyk waived her right to not incriminate herself when she pleaded guilty to the criminal charge.
Bandyk’s attorney filed a counterclaim, saying, in part, the civil litigation is an abuse of process because the victim sought criminal action to recover the money embezzled from him. Bandyk is asking for $250,000 to cover attorney fees and court costs in the civil action.
A position of trust
Bandyk started working for the man as early as 2010 when he was sick, incapacitated and often hospitalized, the lawsuit says. She served as his bookkeeper and assistant and, as such, was in a position of trust over his finances and personal affairs for the next four years.
In August 2015, the man first suspected Bandyk had been “engaged in an ongoing secret and criminal enterprise involving his personal finances and those of the (victim’s) trust,” records say. In November 2015, he reported his suspicions to the Ocean Springs Police Department.
Bandyk was arrested a short time later.
Though Bandyk initially denied embezzling the money, she later came clean.
She said she was able to get her hands on the man’s money because she had his banking information.
She said she set up a PayPal account in her name and funneled the money from his account.
She said she embezzled the money for four year years.
She never said how she spent the money.