Ocean View woman pleads guilty to theft of $1 million from Bethany interior design firm


Joan Donald, 55, of Ocean View, pleaded guilty in federal court to wire fraud and tax evasion in connection with the theft of more than $1 million dollars from Dovetail, Inc., her former employer.

According to court documents and statements made in open court, Donald worked as a bookkeeper for Dovetail, a high-end interior design company based in Bethany Beach. For more than seven years, Donald took money from Dovetail and its owner, an elderly woman with ailing health, by using Dovetail’s funds to pay Donald’s personal credit card bills.

When confronted, Donald said that she had been embezzling money from Dovetail for years. A full forensic accounting conducted by the FBI revealed that Donald had stolen more than $1 million.

Donald faces up to 20 years in prison when sentenced on August 4. Sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.

U.S. Attorney for Delawre David Weiss said, “Dovetail’s story is a remarkable example of the American dream, a small business built from the ground up by a single mother of four. Month after month, year after year, however, Joan Donald breached the trust placed in her and used Dovetail as her own private ATM, effectively bankrupting the business and owner in the process. Thanks to the efforts of our law enforcement partners, Donald is now a convicted felon.”

“Today’s sentence has put an end to Joan Donald’s flagrant actions and complete disrespect of the law.  For years Donald was a trusted insider who preyed on her employer by stealing funds to financially enrich herself” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski. “Those who abuse their position of trust for their own financial greed will not be tolerated. The FBI and our partners will continue to uncover those committing fraud and causing harm to businesses and individuals for personal gain.”