ST. LOUIS (AP) _ A former clerk at SBC Communications Inc. pleaded guilty on Thursday along with some family members and friends to embezzling more than $1.2 million from the telecommunications giant.

St. Louis residents Detra Brady and her husband, Antonio Brady, both 32, and friend Shante Matthews, 24, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, U.S. Attorney Ray Gruender said.

In her plea, Detra Brady admitted that between August 2000 and March 2003, she used her position as a senior records clerk at SBC Communications to lead a conspiracy to obtain money from her employer.

The indictment said Brady canceled customer refund checks, then reissued new checks in the same amount payable to her co-conspirators and two shell companies formed and controlled by them.

The defendants then deposited the SBC checks in the shell business bank accounts, divided the stolen funds and used them to gamble or to buy vehicles, real estate and other personal items, according to the indictment.

Each faces up to five years in prison, fines and the forfeiture of all property relating to the conspiracy. Setencing is scheduled for Dec. 4.

Detra Brady's sister Sharon Walker, 35, and her husband, Jermaine Walker, 29, of St. Charles, and friend Carla Mitchell, 32, of Ferguson, pleaded guilty Aug. 20. Their sentencing is set for Oct. 30.