LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Police say an electrical company was kept in the dark as one of its workers stole nearly a half-million dollars. It's a scheme that left a West Buechel business seeing red. 

The TEM group serves as electrical contractors throughout Kentucky and Indiana. You've likely driven right by their work projects and never known. The company is responsible for putting up street lights and electrical signs on highways as well as installing the wiring on big projects for Louisville Water and MSD.

Company leaders say they were shocked to find one of the company's employees stealing. 

West Buechel police say Melody Duran stole more than $400,000 over the course of two-and-a-half years. According to a federal indictment Duran was the office manager and accounts payable clerk at TEM from Dec. 2014 to Aug. 2017.

Court records say Duran would write checks to herself, cash them at PNC banks and then log it in the company's records as paying off a vendor. 

Court records show the amounts of the checks steadily increasing as the scheme went unnoticed. There was a transaction for $1,425 in 2014; another for $2,542 in 2016, and another transaction for nearly $3,000 in June of this year.

TEM's founder, Thomas Masterson, says the FBI told him to stay off camera, but he did tell us the acts of one person impacted all 75 of his workers, in terms of bonuses and the company's contribution to employees' pension accounts. 

"It's personal to me and personal to the people here," Masterson said. 

Last month the case was waived to federal court, and Duran is now charged with wire fraud. Her trial is scheduled to start in January. 

Neither Duran nor her lawyer returned our calls requesting their comments. 

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