Ex-medical worker’s ‘greed’ in $1M-plus theft earns her prison, costs her diamond ring

Maria Elizabeth Trenam
Maria Elizabeth Trenam

The former office manager of a Houston County surgical practice was sentenced Friday to serve five years in prison for wire fraud in a case that involved her embezzling more than $1 million from that medical office.

Maria Elizabeth Trenam, 53, who was the office manager for Surgical Associates of Warner Robins, was arrested in August 2015.

Trenam, who has since moved to north Georgia, embezzled an estimated $1.18 million dating back to 2011 when she became the office manager, authorities have said.

She pleaded guilty in July.

A federal judge in Macon on Friday ordered her to pay that same amount in restitution.

A statement on the sentencing from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Macon said Trenam will also have to forfeit “certain property obtained through the fraud, including a bank account, a house, an automobile, and a diamond ring.”

The greed and abuse of trust this theft demonstrates certainly called for the sentence imposed.

Interim U.S. Attorney G.F. “Pete” Peterman III

The statement went on to outline Trenam’s criminal enterprise, one that officials believe started in the spring of 2011 and lasted four years until summer 2015.

“She embezzled money in several ways,” the statement noted, “including making unauthorized cash withdrawals at (ATMs) … utilizing her business credit card, writing unauthorized checks to herself on business accounts, … (and) increasing her salary without authorization.”

The statement said Trenam also used the medical office’s credit card for “unauthorized purchases of goods and services” and for “unauthorized travel and entertainment.”

One such purchase was said to involve the use of a Surgical Associates credit card to buy nearly $2,300 worth of goods over the internet from a Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts Store in Ohio.

Interim U.S. Attorney G.F. “Pete” Peterman III said in the statement that Trenam “stole a huge sum of money, more than many people would make in their lifetime. Making it even worse, she stole from her employer. … The greed and abuse of trust this theft demonstrates certainly called for the sentence imposed.”