Thursday, January 19, 2017

Former Business Manager Admits He Embezzled More Than $6.5 Million From Clients, Including $4.8 Million From Alanis Morissette

From Deadline Hollywood on 1/18/17:

Jonathan Todd Schwartz, an entertainment and sports manager, admitted in court papers today that he embezzled more than $6.5 million from his clients – including $4.8 million from singer Alanis Morissette.
Schwartz, a former partner at GSO Business Management in Sherman Oaks, CA, admitted in a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s office that he took clients’ money for himself and falsified account records to conceal the embezzlement of client funds. He’s been charged with wire fraud and subscribing to a false tax return for failing to disclose the embezzled funds to the Internal Revenue Service.
Besides the money he embezzled from Morissette, who sued him last year for stealing more than $4 million from her, he also admitted in his plea agreement that he embezzled more than $1 million from another unnamed client and concealed the embezzlement by falsely coding the unauthorized cash withdrawals as money used for the client’s home renovations. He also admitted that that he embezzled $737,500 from yet another unnamed client and forged that client’s signature on at least two cash receipts.
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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Economic Forecasts Suggest Business Opportunities - But Risks Persist

Read our article, Economic Forecasts Suggest Business Opportunities Ahead – But Persistent Risks in 2017 and Beyond Require Vigilance.  Optimistic outlook for 2017 and beyond will spark corporate, institutional and individual investment opportunities as well as increased M&A activity.  However, global risks persist and should be monitored and mitigated. 

Read the whole white paper here

Monday, January 9, 2017

Federal Authorities Investigating Possible $2.6 Million Embezzlement In Oklahoma

From the High Plains / Midwest Journal on 1/8/17:

The Oklahoma Beef Council has confirmed that federal authorities are investigating a possible $2.5 million embezzlement by a now former employee of the Council. Harvest Public Media, a collaboration by public radio stations in several High Plains states, broke the news on Jan. 5.
A statement by Heather Buckmaster, chief executive officer of the Oklahoma Beef Council, reads that results on an internal investigation into potential wrongdoing has been turned over to federal authorities in Oklahoma. “Due to an ongoing criminal case and civil matters, we are limited in the details we can share,” Buckmaster said in the statement.
 She did point out how the alleged crime was discovered. “When initial evidence was discovered, we immediately terminated the employee and hired an accounting firm to perform an extensive forensic analysis and assessment, which documented $2.6 million in employee theft between 2009-2016.  The Oklahoma Beef Council provided this information to Federal authorities in September to ensure swift action could be taken. Our goal throughout this process has been to speed recovery and restitution to the greatest extent possible. The board of directors and staff have cooperated fully with Federal authorities as the investigation has moved forward.”
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Read the whole story here.

Friday, January 6, 2017

California Man, 2 Other former Tribal Officials, Charged In $6 Million Embezzlement Of Tribal Funds

From the Sacramento Bee on 1/5/17:

Three former officials of the tribe that owns the Rolling Hills Casino in Corning were indicted Thursday on charges they embezzled at least $6 million from the tribal coffers and used the money to purchase cars, international junkets, gold coins and landscaping for their homes with such features as koi ponds and a putting green.
The 69-count indictment by a federal grand jury in Sacramento alleges that John Crosby, the tribe’s onetime economic development director; Ines Crosby, his mother and the former tribal administrator; and Leslie Lohse, Ines Crosby’s sister and the former tribal treasurer, engaged in a sweeping conspiracy to loot the tribal bank accounts, then lied to FBI agents investigating the matter.
The indictment follows years of controversy involving the tribal government and the casino. Warring factions in the tribe at various times engaged in an armed standoff outside the casino, went to court over control of the casino and endured a cyberattack that destroyed computer records – one that the indictment blames on the three defendants.
... 
Read the whole story here.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Michigan Woman Sentenced In $2 Million Credit Union Embezzlement Case

From the Detroit Free Press on 1/4/17:

She gambled, bought a Mercedes and big motor home, took luxury vacations.
Now, a Westland woman convicted of stealing millions from a veterans credit union she ran will have up to 20 years in prison to ponder her actions.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who called the crime "despicable," announced Thursday that Fuataina Afutiti of Westland has been sentenced to a minimum of 2½ years and up to 20 years in prison for stealing nearly $2 million from the Veterans Health Administration Credit Union, although defense attorneys said she is likely to serve the minimum term,
Afutiti not only took advantage of her position as president and CEO of the credit union, she "took advantage of military veterans, many of whom were disabled or on a fixed income,” Schuette said.
“Individuals who served and sacrificed for this country deserve the utmost respect, but instead the members of the credit union were victimized. I am pleased to see this verdict," he said in a news release.
Afutiti, 50, pleaded guilty to one count of receiving proceeds from a continuing criminal enterprise and one count of embezzlement from a credit union, according to the release. She was sentenced Dec. 29 before Wayne County Circuit Judge David Groner.
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Read the whole story here.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Upstate New York Woman Charged With Embezzling $1 Million+ From Automotive Firm

From WKBW Buffalo on 1/3/17:
An East Aurora woman stands accused of stealing more than $1 million dollars over the past five years from Towne Automotive in Orchard Park.
Police say Billie Becker, 55, had been using company funds to pay for personal accounts since at least 2012. She had worked for Towne since 2001, serving as controller for the past eight years.
According to detectives, the company became aware of the theft when a credit card company called to ask about a credit card the company was not aware of.
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Read the whole story here.
 


Monday, January 2, 2017

Maryland Woman Indicted On Embezzlement & Fraud Charges In $1.8 Million Theft From Bank

From the Perry Hall Patch on 12/31/2016:

A Nottingham woman was indicted on federal charges of embezzlement and fraud. Melissa Strohman, 54, former senior vice president of a Maryland bank, is accused of stealing more than $1.8 million by making unauthorized transfers and withdrawals from customers' accounts, according to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland.
From April 2010 to July 2016, Strohman allegedly took money from six customers at the federal savings bank where she worked to pay for her and her family's mortgages, credit cards and property taxes, the U.S. Attorney reported. Two of the victims were deceased and three of the clients were more than 80 years old.
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Read the whole story here.
 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Wisconsin Couple Charged With Embezzling $190K From Church

From the Duluth News Tribune on 12/27/2016:

RUSH RIVER, Wis. - St. Croix County authorities allege a Roberts woman and her husband embezzled about $190,000 from a rural church here over the course of nearly 10 years.

Kara K. Amundson-LaVenture and Michael LaVenture return to court next week on felony theft charges. LaVenture’s charges stipulate he was party to a crime. Amundson-LaVenture also faces one count of unauthorized identity use, a felony. A preliminary hearing in both cases is set for Tuesday, Jan. 3.

The couple was responsible for $167,551 in unauthorized checks and $21,898 in missing cash from New Centerville United Methodist Church, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case. The charges allege the thefts occurred between February 2006 and May 2015.

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Read the whole story here.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Happy Holidays

Marquet International wishes you a happy holiday season and a safe and prosperous 2017.


Monday, December 19, 2016

Former Fire Captain In California Accused Of Embezzling Nearly $300K From Union

A former fire captain in Lodi, California has been accused of embezzling $297K from local fire fighter's union where he had served as treasurer.  From the Lodi News-Sentinel on 12/16/2016:
A former Lodi firefighter is facing felony charges after allegedly embezzling $297,000 from the Lodi Professional Firefighters Union.                                                            
According to court records, Captain Oscar Picazo, who served as the union’s treasurer, has been charged with grand theft by embezzlement over $950, taking, damaging or destroying property over $200 and theft of more than $100,000.
Picazo will be arraigned next Thursday at 9:15 a.m. at the Lodi branch of the San Joaquin County Superior Court.
Picazo, who was nominated union treasurer in December of 2003, resigned from both the union and his position at the Lodi Fire Department in September of this year after the city launched an investigation into the matter.
The union released a statement that read: “While the media has only recently learned of the criminal charges brought against Mr. Picazo the Lodi Professional Firefighters has been coping with the damage inflicted by him for several months. The LPF was very disappointed to discover that Mr. Picazo violated the trust placed in him by the union. Although Mr. Picazo did not take any public funds, the fact that Mr. Picazo would defraud his friends and colleagues makes this situation all the more disheartening. The Lodi Professional Firefighters appreciates the thorough investigation of this matter by local law enforcement and the District Attorney’s efforts to protect the interests of the LPF and its members. Given that the LPF and its members are the victims in this matter we have no further comment until the conclusion of all legal proceedings.”
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Read the whole story here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Former Head of Credit Union Pleads Guilty To Embezzling Nearly $2.5 Million; Was Employed There For 37 Years

From the FBI on 7/19/2016:

On July 15, 2016, Linda Lee Clark, 68, of Corydon, Iowa, waived indictment and pleaded guilty to an United States Attorney’s Information to one count of embezzlement by a credit union employee, announced United States Attorney Kevin E. VanderSchel. Clark admitted to embezzling $2,494,809 of funds from the SCICAP Credit Union in Chariton, Iowa, from the time she began working there as a bookkeeper in 1978 until she resigned in August 2015. Clark redirected account holders’ deposits into her own personal account and the accounts of her children; and initiated unauthorized withdrawals of funds from member accounts into her own personal account and the accounts of her children. Clark concealed the embezzlement by maintaining two sets of accounting records on the Credit Union’s data processing system. As a result of Clark’s embezzlement, the Credit Union became insolvent and was forced into liquidation.

Clark faces a potential statutory sentence of up to thirty (30) years in prison, a fine of up to $1,000,000, and a term of up to three (3) years of supervised release to follow any term of imprisonment. As part of the plea agreement, Clark agreed to pay restitution. Sentencing is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on November 15, 2016, before United States District Court Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger at the United States Courthouse in Des Moines.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Former Head of Long Island Non-Profit Accused of Embezzling Nearly $1 Million - Supported Lavish Lifestyle

From the New York Post on 7/18/16:

The head of a Long Island not-for-profit organization swiped nearly $1 million in “consulting fees” to pay for her lavish lifestyle, which included cosmetic surgery, family vacations, spa treatments and her $1.3 million home, federal authorities in Brooklyn charged Monday.

Wafa Abboud allegedly ripped off $900,000 from Human First Inc., a social-services provider for those with autism and other developmental disabilities, between January 2011 and May 2016, according to a criminal complaint.

She served as executive director of the nonprofit from 2010 through May 2016, when she was fired.
The organization paid at least $16,000 a month — and sometimes more — to consulting firm MPB Management, a company run by one of Abboud’s cohorts, Marcelle Bailey, court papers say.

A federal investigation found that after the money was transferred to MPB Management, Abboud, 48, used the firm’s bank account to pay off at least $114,000 in personal credit-card debt she had racked up on vacations, jewelry and dining out, officials charged.

She also allegedly wired about $67,000 from MPB Management accounts to herself — and drew checks from it, including $8,000 for a “cosmetic-surgery bill,” according to the court complaint.

About $340,000 in ill-gotten gains were used as a down payment on Abboud’s home in Merrick, LI.
She is also accused of swiping more than $3,5000 to pay for property taxes.

Abboud and a co-defendant, Rami Misbah Taha, crafted a similar money-laundering scheme when it came to funding renovations for the home, according to the complaint.

Human First paid out more than $400,000 to a company controlled by Taha for purported “repairs” to its facilities — but the money was then funneled to a construction business that was doing upgrades on Abboud’s abode, the court documents say.

Prosecutors say Abboud also wired more than $23,000 to people in Morocco and Egypt between 2012 and 2014.

Abboud, Taha and Bailey were indicted last week on charges of embezzlement, conspiracy, money laundering, bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud for allegedly making false statements in order to secure a $1 million mortgage for the Merrick house.

They were arrested on the charges last month and released on bail, according to court records.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Marquet International's White Collar Rogue's Gallery Updated With a Dozen New Profiles

Marquet International's White Collar Rogue's Gallery has been updated to include a dozen new major fraudster profiles.  Read all about these notorious white collar rogues on our website here.  Let us know if you have a worthy infamous candidate or two for our next update by emailing us at info@marquetinternational.com.   Enjoy!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

County Deputy Sheriff In Virginia Sentenced For Embezzling $229K

Public corruption is endemic, even in law enforcement circles.  From the Washington Post on 6/17/2016:

Claiming not to remember the past decade was not a good way try to escape hard time — at least not for Frank Pearson, a former Loudoun County sheriff’s deputy sentenced Friday to three years in prison for embezzlement.

Pearson, who from 2010 to 2013 stole $229,000 in forfeited assets he was charged with overseeing, maintained throughout his trial that he had amnesia covering 10 years.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, who presided over Pearson’s bench trial and found him guilty, said Friday that he does not believe the claim.

“You may have convinced yourself that you don’t remember these events,” Ellis said, but “your claim of amnesia doesn’t resonate with me.”

Defense attorneys said before the trial that in October 2013, after Pearson’s wife found him unresponsive on the bathroom floor of the family’s home, he woke up thinking the year was 2001 and he was unable to recognize friends he had met after that year.

Ellis noted Friday that a physician was unable to confirm Pearson’s memory loss and had deemed the ex-deputy fit to stand trial.

“I grew up in a society where corruption was rife,” said Ellis, who was born in Colombia. “Corruption by government can kill a society.”

Prosecutors noted that not all of the lost funds have been accounted for. The night before he was due to meet with supervisors who had grown suspicious, Pearson was seen leaving the office with two boxes that another deputy said contained rolls of coins.
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Read the whole story here.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Illinois Woman Charged With Embezzling $370K From Assisted Living Facility

Another shameless example of brazen fraud involving a bookkeeper willing to fleece her employer with no apparent concern about the consequences.  From WLS 860 AM on 6/17/16:

A north suburban woman was charged Wednesday in an embezzlement scheme that allegedly stole more than $370,000 from Econocare, a Lincolnwood assisted living company she worked for.

Shawna Wolff-Geisler, 41, of Des Plaines was charged with a felony counts of continuing financial crimes enterprise and theft, according to a statement from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Wolff-Geisler was charged following an investigation initiated by the Lincolnwood Police Department and the financial crimes units of the Cook County sheriff’s police and Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office after she was terminated from the company in 2015, according to the statement.

Prosecutors said Wolff-Geisler was fired from Econocare in August 2015, after which a financial inspection was preformed. The inspection allegedly revealed numerous suspicious checks were written from the company’s bank account and made payable to Wolff-Geisler. An investigation found about 80 checks were written to Wolff-Geisler with a forged signature of the company’s CEO, prosecutors said.

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Read the whole story here.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Marquet Internatinonal's Resume Liar's Club Now Updated With A Dozen New Profiles

Marquet International's popular Resume Liar's Club compendium has been updated on our website with a dozen new profiles.  We provide these examples in order to remind our clients how important it is to conduct regular background checks on employees and to thoroughly vet key officers and directors.  Marquet International provides clients with hand crafted due diligence reports on principals, officers, directors and other key executives and corporate entities in corporate financing transactions, mergers & acquisitions, know your customer investigations, litigation support efforts and pre-employment screening, to name a few. 

Check out the updated Resume Liars Club here.