WASHINGTON (AP) — A woman who prosecutors say financed a lavish lifestyle by embezzling $3.6 million from her employer has pleaded guilty to a federal mail fraud charge.

Pamela J. Beard of Bowie, Md., entered the plea Friday in federal court in Washington. As part of a plea deal, she faces a maximum of 51 months in prison and must pay $3.6 million in criminal forfeiture and restitution at sentencing May 8.

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According to government evidence, Beard, 51, was office manager at the Office of Orthopaedic Medicine & Surgery in Washington. Prosecutors say Beard generated corporate checks and deposited them to accounts she controlled.

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Authorities say Beard used the embezzled funds for vacations, jewelry and parties, including a 50th birthday party at the National Harbor for which she spent $18,000 on ice sculptures.

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