Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Former New York Investment Banker Sued In Multi-Million Embezzlement Case

HernĂ¡n Esteban Arbizu , 40, formerly of Southport, Connecticut and a former investment banker with JPMorgan Chase & Co. and UBS, in New York, has been sued by JP Morgan for $2.8 million he allegedly embezzled from a customer's account. After his fraud was discovered in April 2008, Arbizu fled to Argentina, but was arrested in July 2008. Arbizu, a native of Argentina, now under indictment for the thefts, is still awaiting extradition. According to the complaint, Arbizu stole the funds from a UBS client account and then stole an additional $2.8 million from a JP Morgan account to pay back the UBS client. A total of more than $5.3 million was stolen, according to reports.

Read the story here and here.

Update: Koss Embezzlement Now Estimated At $20 Million

Sujata "Sue" Sachdeva, 46, of Mequon, Wisconsin, who has been charged in a criminal complaint with wire fraud in connection with the alleged embezzlement of more than $4.5 million from Koss Corp., is now believed to have embezzled more than $20 million from the Milwaukee-based publicly traded company, according to reports. Sachdeva was the company's Vice President of Finance for Koss and had been an employee since 1992. She has since been fired from the company and an internal investigation is still underway.

Read FraudTalk's original post here.

Read the story here and here.
Milwaukee Business Journal updates story and quotes Chris Marquet here.

Kentucky Woman Accepts Plea Bargain and Is Sentenced To 10 Years For Embezzling $3.2 Million

Jody Willis of Shelby County, Kentucky, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for embezzling some $3.2 million from clients of The Dean Law Office, where she had been employed. Willis accepted a plea bargain in exchange for the sentence. Authorities had charged that Willis had looted the law firm's customer escrow accounts.

Read the story here.

New Jersey Man Arrested In $730K New York Embezzlement Case

Richard Tedeschi, 51, of Morris Plains, New Jersey, was arrested recently for allegedly embezzling more than $730,000 from an unnamed New York City-based investment firm where he had been employed as Controller. According to authorities, Tedeschi allegedly stole money from his firm for seven years, falsely claiming his personal expenses were corporate expenses and forging signatures on corporate checks. Tedeschi was charged with one count each of mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. He faces up to 22 years in prison if convicted on both counts. Independent research suggests that the victim company is Cain Brothers, where Tedeschi has been employed since 1996.

Read the story here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Update (3/23/10): Tedeschi pleaded guilty to mail fraud, admitting he embezzled $734,000 from an unnamed New York City-based investment firm. Sentencing is scheduled for June 21, 2010.

Update (9/25/10): Tedeschi was sentenced to nearly 2 1/2 years in prison and ordered to pay $521,000 in restitution still owed.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Update: California Man Sentenced To 6 Years for $2 Million Embezzlement

Ryan Sawyer Merman, 69, of Santa Rosa, California, was sentenced to 6 years in prison for embezzling more than $1.8 million from STX Inc., where he had been employed as a manager for 12 years. According to prosecutors, Merman's thefts occurred over a 7 year period between March 2002 and 2009. He plead guilty last September to six felony counts that included forgery, elder fraud and embezzlement. He reportedly forged checks from the company for his own benefit.

Read FraudTalk's original post on this story here.

Read the story here.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas
&
Happy Holidays

to all our readers from

Marquet International
&
FraudTalk

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New York Exec Pleads Guilty To Embezzling From Employee Benefit Plan

Brian Conroy, 61, of Gloversville, New York, has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $330,000 from the employee benefits plan Joseph P. Conroy, Inc., which he ran. According to prosecutors, between January 2001 and July 2007, Conroy wrote checks to himself and companies he controlled from the benefits plan. In his plea agreement, Conroy has agreed to make restitution. He is due to be sentenced on April 10, 2009.

Read the story here.

Former Upstate New York Library Treasurer Accused Of Embezzling $280K

Lawrence J. Recor, 64, of Boonville, New York, has been accused of embezzling more than 280,000 from the Erwin Library and Institute, where he had served as treasurer for more than 20 years. According to prosecutors, between June 2005 and July 2008, Recor wrote numerous unauthorized checks from the library's bank account to Recor Associates, his own accounting business account. Recor, who has been charged with one count of grand larceny and 27 counts of falsifying business records, has pleaded not guilty.

Read the story here and here.
Update (3/17/10): Recor plead guilty and was sentenced to 3-9 years in prison, plus ordered to pay restitution. In addition to his thefts from the Erwin Library, Recor also reportedly embezzled more than $150,000 from the Kiwanis Club of Boonville. According to Recor's testimony, he stole the money when his business, Recor Associates, was having financial difficulties.

Florida Condo Manager Pleads Guilty In $167K Embezzlement Case

Joan Nesbitt Eller, 62, of Jacksonville, Florida, has pleaded guilty to charges she embezzled nearly $167,000 over a 7 year period from the Timuquana Village Condominium Association, where she had been employed as manager since 1988. According to an internal investigation, Eller wrote checks to herself from the association’s bank account for personal items from 2002 until this past June. She had faced up to 30 years for grand theft, but in a plea deal, will only have to serve 10 days, served on weekends, plus make restitution, which she has done. Eller was also placed on a year of house arrest and ordered her to perform 150 hours of community service. Eller's thefts nearly bankrupted the condo association, according to its new treasurer, Bill Hammock. Prior to his appointment, Eller had complete control over the books of the association.

Read the story here and here.

Sounds to me like a very light sentence considering the breach of trust and amount she embezzled...

Wisconsin CFO Charged In $4.5 Million Embezzlement

Sujata Sachdeva, 46, of Mequon, Wisconsin, has been charged in a criminal complaint with wire fraud in connection with the alleged embezzlement of more than $4.5 million from Koss Corp., the publicly traded Milwaukee-based headphone maker where she was employed as vice president of finance. According to the complaint, Sachdeva made unauthorized transactions involving Koss accounts over the past two years, spending the money at clothing and jewelry stores across the Milwaukee area, including $1.3 million at Valentina boutique in Mequon, $130,000 in jewelry and $600,000 from a bridal store in Milwaukee,. Sachdeva, who has been employed by Koss since 1992, has been placed on administrative leave pending the results of an internal investigation. Sachdeva sits on the Board of Trustees of Cardinal Stritch University and her husband, Ramesh C. Sachdeva, is a prominent pediatrician in the area.

Read the story here, here and here.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Former Florida Hedge Fund Manager Sentenced In $200 Million Swindle

Won Sok Lee, formerly of Singer Island, Florida, was sentenced to 298 months in prison (nearly 25 years) for his role in defrauding investors out of nearly $200 million in connection with the collapse of KL Group, LLC, the hedge fund firm he operated with co-conspirators Jung "John" Kim, and Yung Bae Kim. Lee, pictured on the left, was also ordered to pay $78,525,567.34 in restitution. The three were originally indicted in December 2006 for allegedly defrauding more than 250 investors out of $194 million over a five year period between 2000 and 2005. Lee was a fugitive from the time of his indictment until early 2009 when federal authorities located him in South Korea. He was extradited to Florida to face fraud charges in April 2009 . According to the indictment, KL Group co-conspirators put on an elaborate scam to lure investors and their money, including lavish offices overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and paying a large group of "prospective traders'' to stay on the phones in the office and trade stocks even though they were losing money to make the business appear to customers to have a large and successful staff of stock traders. Lee plead guilty in September and the Kim brothers plead guilty in 2007.

Read the story here, here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Update: Former Pennsylvania Ambulance Exec Pleads Guilty & Is Sentenced In Embezzlement Case

Roy Allen Dulaney, 51, formerly of Sharon, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to embezzling $115,599 from Shenango Valley Area Ambulance Service Inc., where he had served as president. Dulaney was sentenced to 11 to 23 months in prison, plus restitution in the amount of $70,000. According to investigators, Dulaney made 283 unauthorized cash withdrawals at local casinos over a two year period. He was fired in late 2008 and arrested that December when the misappropriation came to light. Dulaney reportedly expressed remorse at his sentencing, saying “I truly am sorry for what I did."

Read FraudTalk's original post on this story here.

Read the story here.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Former New York Union Leader Charged In Embezzlement Scheme

Wayne Mitchell, 57, of Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania, has been charged with misappropriating more than $200,000 from Local 14170 of the Communication Workers of America Union, aka New York Mailers Union No. 6, where he had served as president. According to prosecutors, from 2004 to 2008, Mitchell took unauthorized salary and wrote unauthorized checks to himself.

Read the story here and here.

Update: (1/5/11): Mitchell, now 58, was sentenced to 2 years in prison for embezzling what is now believed to be $373,555. Mitchell blamed his actions on a prescription drug addiction.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Massachusetts Financial Advisor Charged In $4.3 Million Embezzlement Scheme

Stephen Clifford, 58, of Plymouth, Massachusetts, was charged with one count each of mail fraud, wire fraud and willful violation of the Investment Advisers Act, plus three counts of making a false tax return in connection with the alleged theft of some $4.3 million from about 20 of his financial advisory clients. Prosecutors allege that Clifford ran an embezzlement scheme from March 2003 through June 2008, taking in money for investments through his company, Clifford Financial Associates. Clifford allegedly used the investment money to pay personal expenses, including his mortgage, alimony, credit card bill, payments on his home equity line of credit and his daughter’s college tuition. According to reports, June 2008, when he was arrested on rape and kidnapping charges at a Connecticut casino, he told authorities that he had taken $3 million from his clients. He is currently being held in Barnstable County jail and faces 20 years for each count, plus restitution and a fine of up to $8.3 million.

Read the story here, here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Former Pennsylvania Political Aid Sentenced In 2nd Embezzlement Case

Lauretta S. Simmons, 44, of Lemoyne, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison for embezzling some $1.2 million from Joseph V. Sweeney and Associates, a real estate development company based in Harrisburg where she had been employed as an administrative assistant for the past 10 years. Simmons pleaded guilty last May to wire fraud. According to prosecutors, Simmons embezzlement scheme lasted from January 2006 to January 2009. She reportedly used the stolen funds to purchase vacation homes, vehicles, gold and silver coins and jewelry. Simmons previously pleaded guilty in May 2000 to mail fraud for embezzling some $93,500 from the re-election campaign of former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge.

Read the story here and here.

Update: Former Vermont Clerk Sentenced To 90 Days For $100K Embezzlement

Suzanne K. LaBombard, 51, the former town clerk and treasurer for the town of Isle La Motte, Vermont, was sentenced to 90 days in prison for embezzling more than $100,000 from town coffers. LaBombard pleaded guilty this past September to one count of embezzlement and two counts of false claim. According to reports, LaBombard's father repaid the township a total of $150,000.

Read FraudTalk's earlier posts on this story here, here and here.

Read the story here.

Pretty light sentence, IMHO...

Former Mississippi Prison Doctor Gets 2 Years For Embezzlement

Dr. Kentrell Liddell, 35, of Jackson, Mississippi, was sentenced to 10 years in prison with 8 years suspended, for embezzling nearly $100,000 from the Mississippi Department of Corrections, where she had served as chief medical officer. The sentencing followed Liddell's guilty plea on 13 counts of embezzlement. Prosecutors alleged that Liddell had misappropriated $94,745 from the MDOC from September 2004 until May 2008. Liddell, who was originally arrested last May, must also pay restitution in that amount, plus a $5,000 fine, payable to the Victims Compensation Fund. Authorities assert that Liddell will likely lose her medical license in Mississippi since she has now been convicted of a felony.

Read the story here and here.

California Accountant Pleads Not Guilty In $550K Embezzlement Case

Heng Bill Chhay, 37, of Arcadia, California, who is currently in jail on charges he embezzled some $550,000 from his former employer, Empire Cos., a land development and construction company, has pleaded not gulity to the charges. Chhay had served as the company's head accountant before leaving last May. Prosecutors have filed 15 felony charges against Chhay related to the alleged embezzlement after an investigation revealed that he had written at least 13 checks to himself and manipulated the company's computer system in order to cover up his actions. Prosecutors allege that Chhay's scheme last approximately 2 years. He reportedly confessed to the embezzlement when he was interviewed by authorities on October 28th. According to the investigative report from the interview, Chhay said that he used the embezzled money to pay his bills and student loans, and to purchase luxury cars and take a Las Vegas vacation, among other things.

Read the story here and here.
Update (5/6/10): Chhay made restitution payments of $557,000 Tuesday and was sentenced to 180 days in prison. He had pleaded no contest to grand theft in March.

Michigan Man Pleads Guilty In $441K Embezzlement Conspiracy

Dean Alan Nienhuis, 34, of Allegan, Michigan, pleaded guilty this week to one felony charge of embezzlement of more than $100,000 from the Lakeshore Partnership, an operator of McDonald's franchises, where his bookkeeper wife was employed and also charged in the alleged conspiracy. Investigators believe that his wife, Erica Joy Nienhuis, 30, embezzled more than $441,000 by writing at least 42 checks to herself and to her husband. She has been charged separately. Dean Nienhuis has been the subject of prior felony and misdemeanor criminal cases and faces up to 20 years in prison in this matter.

Read the story here and here.
Update (6/21/10): Erica Nienhuis was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison, plus ordered to pay full restitution. Dean Nienhuis was previously sentenced to 1 year in prison for his role in the embezzlement scheme. Erica was also found guilty of welfare fraud in receiving food stamps for which she was not eligible.

Texas Woman Charged With Embezzling More Than $600K

Deborah Ogden Williams, 46, of Kilgore, Texas, has been charged with embezzling more than $600,000 from K.K. Mobbs Construction, where she had been employed as an office manager and bookkeeper. Prosecutors allege that from 1994 until February 2009, Williams made unauthorized check payments, including possibly forged company checks, to pay off personal debts, including a defaulted student loan and make other purchases for her own personal use. Williams has been charged with four counts of mail fraud and five counts of wire fraud.

Read the story here.

Update (10/27/10): Williams, now 47, was sentenced to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay $626,718 in restitution after pleading guilty in this case last April.

Former Michigan Bank Exec Accused In $215K Embezzlement Scheme

Michael Joseph Willette of Michigan, has been indicted on charges he misappropriated more than $215,000 from the Lowell, Michigan office of the Ionia County National Bank, now known as Firstbank of West Michigan, where he had been employed as a vice president and office manager. Prosecutors allege that over a 2 year period, Willette used bank customers' personal information to make loans in their names without their knowledge or consent. The 16-count indictment includes charges of aggravated identity theft and misapplication of bank funds.

Read the story here.

Former North Carolina Bank Manager Accused In $270K Embezzlement Case

Doris Stroud Renegar, 56, of Statesville, NC, has been charged with embezzling more than $270,00 from the Piedmont Bank branch she was employed by as a manager. Prosecutors alleged that between May 2007 and June 2009, Renegar stole customers' identities, including her own parents, in order to misappropriate the funds. Her attorney claims that Renegar was addicted to online gambling and has agreed to plead guilty to the charges of embezzlement by a bank employee and identity theft and to make restitution.

Read the story here and here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Virginia Woman Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $167K From Church

Patricia Wilson, 57, of Draper, Virginia, has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $167,000 from the Memorial Christian Church where she had served as the church bookkeeper for 9 years. Prosecutors alleged last April that Wilson diverted most of the monies from the Church's building fund but also from it's general fund. At the time of her arrest on April 17, Wilson was a municipal employee within the Pulaski County commissioner of the revenue's office. She has since resigned from that position. Wilson pleaded guilty to five of the nine embezzlement counts she had been charged with and faces up to 20 years for each count. She is not suspected of stealing from county coffers.

Read the story here and here.

Update (3.10.10): Wilson, now 58, was sentenced to two years in prison for embezzling $167,030.75. She has reportedly paid back about $20,000 thus far.

California Bookkeeper Charged In $250K Embezzlement Case

Casey Jane Goebel, of Indio, California, was arrested last week for allegedly embezzling at least $250,000 from Hyde's Air Conditioning where she had been employed as a bookkeeper. According to authorities, Goebel's thefts ocurred between August 2007 and July 2009. Details on the case are not yet available.

Read the story here and here.

Former Bank Manager In Ohio Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $185K

Robin K. Ramey, 48, of Huntington, Ohio, pleaded guilty to charges she embezzled some $185,000 from the Huntington National Bank where she was a longtime employee, ultimately rising to the level of supervisor. Prosecutors alleged that starting in December 2001 until November 2008, Ramey caused at least 86 wire transfers in bank funds to be sent to her personal checking and saving accounts. If the plea agreement holds, Ramey will be ordered to spend two years in prison and repay the bank. She is scheduled to be sentenced on January 21, 2010.

Read the story here and here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Michigan Woman Charged With Embezzling $110+K From Law Firm

Jessica Harmon, 32, of Lowell, Michigan, has been charged with embezzling more than $100,000 from a unnamed local law firm where she had been employed apparently in a bookkeeping position. The thefts reportedly occurred over a 3 year period. Specifically, Harmon faces charges of embezzlement of more than $20,000, uttering and publishing and using a computer to commit a crime. Harmon, who had been employed by the law firm for 10 years, allegedly made unauthorized withdrawals from firm accounts and wrote herself extra pay checks.

Read the story here and here.

Virginia Woman Pleads Not Guilty To Misappropriating $800K From State's Birth Injury Program

Iris F. Allen, 44, of Richmond, Virginia, has pleaded not guilty to charges she misappropriated more than $800,000 from the state's Birth-related Neurological Injury Compensation Program, where she had been employed as a benefits manager. Allen was indicted on 29 felony counts that includes aggravated identity theft, health care fraud, extortion, and theft. Authorities alleged that Allen fabricated invoices and siphoned benefit payments two companies she formed, named Paratransit Company and Dandridge Design & Construction. Allen is scheduled to go on trial in January.

Read the story here and here.

Army Captain From Oregon Pleads Guilty To Embezzling Nearly $700K In Iraq Relief Cash

Capt. Michael Dung Nguyen, 28, of Beaverton, Oregon, pleaded guilty Monday to theft and money-laundering charges related to the theft of some $690,000 in cash intended for relief and reconstruction in Iraq. Nguyen was the U.S. Army battalion civil affairs officer in Muqdadiyah, Iraq and had been entrusted with cash designated for local commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan for urgent humanitarian relief and reconstruction. He was indicted last March on charges of theft of government property, structuring financial transactions and money laundering. The thefts occurred between April 2007 and February 2009, according to the indictment. He spend some of the money on luxury vehicles, among other personal items. Nguyen is a 2004 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and was assigned to the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division.

Read the story here and here.

Update: Georgia Man Indicted Anew For Allegedly Misappropriating $476K

William David “Billy” Ramsbottom Jr., 44, of Macon, Georgia, has been indicted on new charged for allegedly embezzling nearly $476,000 from an unnamed local business where he had been employed. Specifically, Ramsbottom was charged in two separate indictments on a total of 47 counts of fiduciary theft, two counts of forgery and one count of theft by taking, according to court records. Ramsbotom was indicted last February on charges of racketeering alleging he embezzled $421,000. The current indictments, which supersede the February indictment, involve allegations that Ramsbottom, as managing partner in real estate management firms, Retreat Village Management Co. LLC and Retreat Village Property Co. LLC, diverted rent money and other funds into his own accounts for personal use between 2007 and 2008.

Read FraudTalk's original post on this story here.




Read the story here and here.

Former Michigan School Secretary To Be Tried For $110+K Embezzlement

Patricia Susan Lowry, 51, of Center Line, Michigan, is scheduled to go on trial for allegedly misappropriating more than $110,000 from the Van Dyke Public Schools where she had been employed as a secretary for some 18 years. The over a nearly six year period between August 2003 and April 2009. According to investigators, Lowry embezzled between $110,000 and $115,000, an amount she disputes, over a period of nearly six years, between August 2003 and April 2009. No plea bargain was reached and the trial is scheduled for January 26 in Macomb County Circuit Court. Lowry allegedly caused checks to be directed from school district programs into bank accounts of the Van Dyke Association of Educational Office Personnel to which she had access. She also is charged with misappropriating the union's funds directly. Lowry reportedly claimed that she took the money after her husband lost his job and that she needed the money to pay for household expenses and rent owed by her children.

Read the story here and here.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Colorado Man Pleads Guilty In $21 Million Ponzi Scheme Case

Shawn R. Merriman, 46, of Aurora, Colorado, pleaded guilty last week to charges he defrauded investors out of some $21 million over a 15 year period in a Ponzi-type investment fraud scheme. Commencing in 1994, Merriman promised returns of 7 to 25 percent to investors, but instead spend much of the investment funds to pay dividends to earlier investors and to purchase artwork, sports memorabilia and antique cars, among other personal luxury items. Merriman's scheme involved his investment firm, Market Street Advisors and he reportedly targeted local members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where he is a bishop. Merriman was arrested last April and authorities have seized 193 paintings and works of art; 27 vehicles, including a 1937 Cord and a 1930 Lincoln; 34 rifles, shotguns and handguns; and baseball memorabilia, including a glove autographed by Lou Gehrig (see link below for a full list of items seized). He is scheduled to be sentenced next May.

Read the story here, here and here.

Read the SEC complaint here.

See the list of items seized from Merriman here.

Michigan Woman Charged In Ponzi Scheme Case

Rita Ann Gosselin, 58, of Grosse Ile, Michigan, has been arrested and charged with operating a real estate Ponzi scheme which allegedly defrauded up to 20 people out of $500,000. The scheme reportedly went on between April 2007 and September 2008 wherein Gosselin promised prospective investors that she could purchase foreclosed and distressed properties in bulk, renovate them and sell them for a profit, providing monthly revenue. Gosselin was charged with one count of racketeering and three counts of false pretenses over $20,000. She faces up to 50 years in prison if convicted on all four felony counts.

Read the story here and here.
Read the Michigan Attorney General's announcement here.

Colorado Man Pleads Not Guilty In Alleged $227K Embezzlement Case

Jeffrey Scott Guntle, 47, of Alamosa, Colorado, has plead not guilty to charges he embezzled some $227,000 from the Alamosa Housing Authority where he had been employed. Guntle was indicted last month on three counts of embezzling and aiding and abetting, 19 counts of money laundering and a count of conspiring with an unidentified housing authority employee to embezzle. The scheme lasted about two years from 2005 to 2007. Two other agency employees have been accused of similar charges. Patricia Martinez, 62, former executive director of the agency, pleaded guilty last month to embezzling $1.3 million between 1998 and 2007 and Presiliano Bonifacio Romero, 44, a maintenance worker, is scheduled to plead guilty later this month to embezzling $42,900 in 2005. The case against Guntle involves the alleged fabrication of fraudulent maintenance invoices.

Read the story here, here and here.

Former West Virginia Parks & Rec Official Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $130K

Amy Marie Mick, 31, of Morgantown, West Virginia, pleaded guilty to embezzlement, uttering and two counts of forgery in connection with the theft of some $130,000 from the Morgantown Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners (BOPARC), where she oversaw senior programs and had bookkeeping responsibilities. According to authorities, Mick misappropriated the funds between 2006 and 2009 from BOPARC's Retired Seniors Volunteer Program by making unauthorized purchases with an agency debit/credit card. She faces up to 40 years in prison and must pay restitution.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (7/21/10): Mick was sentenced yesterday to five years probation and ordered to pay full restitution and send a written apology to the Morgantown BOPARC.

FBI Investigating $1 Million Apparent Embezzlement From Connecticut Church

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the apparent embezzlement of some $1 million from the St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church in Orange, Connecticut. Church leaders held a meeting last night to tell members about the thefts from the church's endowment and building fund. The unidentified suspect may have also misappropriated church members individual investments, according to reports.

Developing...

Read the story here, here and here.

North Carolina Woman Accused Of Embezzling $1 Million From Auto Dealership

Pamela Snow Lewis, 62, of Mount Airy, North Carolina, has been charged with embezzling more than $1 million from Patterson Toyota where she had been employed for 15 years. She held an office management position that gave her access to the company's accounts. According to authorities, Lewis devised an elaborate scheme where money from the dealership was deposited into her personal bank account. She faces 9 counts of embezzlement in excess of $100,000. Lewis is due back in court on January 21st.

Read the story here and here.

Friday, December 4, 2009

California Woman Charged With Embezzling $250K

Sivalatha "Siva" Sadasivam, 40, of Tracy, California has been charged with embezzling some $250,000 worth in gift cards from Lodi-based property management firm, RPM Company. Sadasivam, who was in charge of purchasing gift cards from Safeway Stores for prospective clients, instead kept many for herself. She would then exchange cards for other retail outlets such as Best Buy and Nordstroms and used them to purchase personal luxury items for herself and her husband. The scheme dates back about five years to at least 2004. She has been charged with two felony counts each of embezzlement and grand theft. Sadasivam holds dual citizenship in the US and Malaysia.

Read the story here and here.


Update (3/29/11): Sadasivam, now 42, was sentenced to three years and four months in prison after pleading guilty in this case. Read an update of the story here.

Update: Fmr. Congressman Shays Campaign Manager Arrested For Embezzlement

Michael I. Sohn, 34, of Fairfield, Connecticut and the former aide to former congressman Christopher Shays, was arrested this morning after a 12-count indictment was handed down charging him with embezzling more than $250,000 in campaign funds. According to prosecutors, Sohn made unauthorized ATM withdrawals from campaign accounts among other misappropriations and spent the money on luxury items.

Read FraudTalk's earlier posts on this story here and here.

Read the story here and here.
Update (3/5/10): Michael I. Sohn will plead guilty to embezzling more than $250,000 from the Christopher Shays' campaign coffers over a four year period, according to reports. He faces 20 years in prison and $1 million in fines.
Update (9/16/10): Sohn blamed his thefts in part on his drug addiction.
Update (9/21/10): Sohn was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for embezzling $252,424 from the Christopher Shays for Congress Committee spanning a four year period.

Longtime Texas Bookkeeper Sentenced In $1 Million Embezzlement Case

Mary Henke Geiger, 69, of Salado, Texas, was sentenced to one year in prison for embezzling some $1 million from Austin Apartment Washer Service where she had been employed as a bookkeeper since the 1970s. Her sentencing follows Geiger's guilty plea to one count of bank fraud. With her guilty plea, Geiger admitted that from 1998 to mid-2006 she stole from the company by writing unauthorized checks to herself, relatives and others associates.

Read the story here and here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Update: Petters Found Guilty On All Counts in $3.65 Million Ponzi Scheme Case

Former Minnesota businessman Thomas "Tom" J. Petters, 52, of Wayzata, Minnesota, was found guilty yesterday by a federal jury on all 20 felony counts that he ran a $3.5 billion Ponzi scheme defrauding investors since the mid-1990's. The 20 guilty counts included wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and conspiracy. Petters was originally arrested in October 2008 and formally indicted in December - a year ago. The guilty verdicts followed a 17 day trial in federal court in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The fraud and conspiracy case involved Minnetonka-based Petters Group Worldwide, his primary holding company, and Petters Company Inc., the investment arm of the group. Several other executives of the company, including Deanna Coleman, Robert White, Michael Catain and Larry Reynolds, who have all previously pleaded guilty in the case. Coleman was reportedly the primary whistle blower in the case which involved a scheme to solicit cash from hedge funds, money managers and other investors to buy consumer electronics for resale to retailers such as Costco and Sam's Club. The big returns never materialized as promised as no significant transactions ever occurred.

Read FraudTalk's earlier posts on this story here, here , here and here.

Read the story here and here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Former Massachusetts Bank Exec Arrested For Allegedly Misappropriating $179K

Kathleen Morris, 34, of Truro, Massachusetts, has been arrested on charges she misappropriated some $179,000 from Seamen's Bank, where she had been employed as vice president of commercial lending. Morris allegedly obtained fraudulent loans from the bank by submitting false credit information in the names of seven friends and family members between August 2007 and April 2009. According to prosecutors, none of the friends or relatives were involved in the scam. Morris plead not guilty to the 47 criminal charges, which include 15 counts each of forgery of a promissory note, uttering false writing and obtaining credit over $250 by a false financial statement as well as charges of larceny over $250 by a single scheme and embezzlement from a bank. Morris, who reportedly submitted 15 fraudulent loan packages, was fired last April.

Read the story here and here.

Virginia Man Faces Grand Jury In Alleged 666K Embezzlement Case

Michael D. Comer, 45, of Milton Village, Virginia, will face a grand jury on five embezzlement counts after disappearing last July 1 - on the day of an audit of the Glenmore Community Association which revealed a loss of some $666,000 he allegedly misappropriated. Comer, who had served as the Association's treasurer since 1994, was arrested on July 27th. Comer was also the president of the Glenmore Country Club. Both organizations are owned by his in-laws, according to reports. Each of the five counts carries a sentence of 20 years, if convicted.

Read the story here and here.

Update: Former New York Bookkeeper Sentenced In Quarter Million Embezzlement Case

Dorothy A. Horvath, 51, of Campbell Hall, New York, was sentenced to 3 to 6 years in prison for embezzling nearly a quarter million dollars from Chambers Tractor Sales in Montgomery, New York, where she had been employed as a bookkeeper. The loss estimate is greater than originally believed. Horvath must to repay $241,279 in restitution as part of the sentencing. Horvath was indicted last May on 38 felony counts, including one count of second-degree grand larceny, 18 counts of third-degree grand larceny and 19 counts of fourth-degree grand larceny. According to the indictment, the thefts took place between September 1, 2006 and October 31, 2008. According to reports, Horvath's primary means of embezzlement was to simply take company cash receipts from the bank deposit bag before depositing it. Horvath plead guilty last June.

Read FraudTalk's earlier posts on this story here and here.

Read the story here.

Update: California Couple Must Pay Restitution In Sausage Company Embezzlement Case

Perrin Vidal Clark, 30, and Rachel Jane Clark of Sacramento, California will have to pay at least $189,000 in restitution to Vance Sharp, owner of the Sonoma Sausage Company, where they had been employed for embezzling an estimated $117,000 in cash and property. Rachel Clark was an office manager for Sonoma Sausage from March 2007 to January 2008 and Perrin Clark was employed as a sales manager for part of that time. According to Sharp, the Clarks were involved in misusing corporate credit cards as well as stole company property, including a computer. Perrin and Rachel Clark plead guilty last June to one count of grand theft by embezzlement; 26 counts of forgery, two counts of receiving stolen property; one count of burglary; and two special allegations of stealing more than $65,000 and $100,000, respectively.

Read FraudTalk's original post on this story here.

Read the story here and here.

Former Oregon Bookkeeper Accused Of Embezzling $1.5 Million From Now-Defunct Print Shop

Victoria Marie Monfore, 48, of Springfield, Oregon, has been charged with embezzling some $1.5 million from IP/Koke Printing where she had been employed for 16 years as an accounts payable clerk. Monfore has been charged with 58 felony counts of aggravated first-degree theft, 18 counts of aggravated identity theft and a 12 counts of first-degree theft. The company shut down last December as a result, according to former owner and CEO, Jason Pierce. Monfore's embezzlement scheme lasted from August 2003 until June 2009 whereby she allegedly forged company checks and made them payable to herself. After the business closed down, resulting in 74 people losing their jobs, Monfore continued to work for other family businesses until she was fired in June.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update: Former Pennsylvania Fund Manager Gets 15 Years In $35 Million Ponzi Scheme Case

Joseph S. Forte, 53, of Broomall, Pennsylvania and a former Philadelphia-based fund manager, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for operating a Ponzi-type investment fraud scheme that bilked investors out of some $35 million. According to the original SEC complaint, Forte's scheme - luring investors in fraudulent futures contracts via his investment vehicle, Joseph Forte, L.P. , started in about 1995. Forte allegedly promised investors returns ranging from 18 to 38 percent per year with little or no risk. In all, he took in a reported $80 million. He donated to charities and funded private schools his kids attended. Forte also bought a beach house in New Jersey and by some accounts, lived a lavish lifestyle. Forte pleaded guilty last June to felony charges that included wire fraud, mail fraud, bank fraud and money laundering.

Read FraudTalk's original post on this story here.

Read the story here and here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving


Have a happy & safe Thanksgiving everyone.



P.S. Turkeys are for eating, not hiring...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Former New Jersey Accountant Pleads Guilty To Embezzling More Than $1 Million

Daniel Chungyin Chiu, 60, of Rockaway Township, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to charges he embezzled approximately $1 million worth in cash and stock from Jersey City-based Bel Fuse Inc., a telecommunications manufacturing firm where he had been employed as an accountant. According to prosecutors, from December 2001 until his termination on April 21, 2009, Chiu devised numerous ways of improperly transferring tens of thousands of shares of stock to himself, and inflating his contributions to the company’s 401(k) and profit-sharing plans, prompting the company to contribute substantial matching monies and shares of stock to Chiu’s personal 401(k) plan. Prosecutors say he has cooperated with the investigation and he pleaded guilty to wire fraud. He faces up to 33 months in prison under the terms of his plea agreement. He is free on $500,000 bond and is due for sentencing February 18, 2010.

Read the story here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Update (6/17/10): Chiu, now 61, was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in prison for embezzling some $1 million in stock from Bel Fuse, Inc.

Colorado Woman Accused Of Embezzling $350+K From Clinic

Stacy Hall, 41, of Greeley, Colorado, has been accused of embezzling more than $350,000 from the Women's Clinic of Greeley, where she had been employed as the clinic manager since 2004. Hall allegedly wrote checks from the clinic to herself, her husband and to a fictitious business and then either cashed or deposited the checks into her own accounts. All told, a total of 559 fraudulent checks were written by Hall, totaling $354,799.34, according to investigators. She has been sued in civil court by the clinic in an effort to recover the stolen funds.

Read the story here and here.

Former Bookkeeper Of Andy Williams Accused Of Embezzling $680K From Entertainer

Dawn Kinney Cleveringa, 54, of Kirbyville, Missouri, has been accused of embezzling more than $680,000 from entertainer Andy Williams' Moon River Theater, with whom she had been employed as a bookkeeper. According to investigators, since 2006, Cleveringa wrote checks to herself and forged signatures from company accounts. Cleveringa, who had been employed by Williams for some 14 years, has been charged with one count of stealing and one count of forgery. She was fired last April when bookkeeping discrepancies came to light.

Read the story here and here.

Update: Former Texas Bank Exec Sentenced In $260K Embezzlement Case

Tracy Eugene Culp, 45, of Texarkana, Texas, was sentenced to 19 months in prison for embezzling $260,381.89 from Cass County Bank in Queen City, Texas, where he had been employed as a vice president and branch manager. Culp, who pleaded guilty to the charges last June, admitted he stole the money over a two year period between October 2005 and June 2007. According to prosecutors, Culp's scheme involved creating fraudulent loans and funnelling the money into his own personal accounts. Culp was also ordered to pay full restitution.

Read FraudTalk's original post on this story here.

Read the story here.

Arizona Office Manager Accused In $250K Embezzlement Case

Cathryn Jane Davis of Kingman, Arizona is accused of embezzling approximately $250,000 from city councilman Kerry Deering's rehabilitation center where she worked as office manager and bookkeeper. Davis was arrested November 11th and faces charges of fraudulent schemes and artifices, forgery and felony theft. Davis had been employed by Deering for 3 1/2 years. The case is ongoing.

Read the story here and here.

Minnesota Banker Pleads Guilty In $640K Embezzlement Case

Gregory Gerard Meyer, 39, of Wayzata, Minnesota has pleaded guilty to embezzling $639,820 from Norwood Young America, a community bank chain, where he had been employed as an investment manager. According to prosecutors, Meyer stole the funds from client accounts between March 2006 and October 2008 and transferred the funds into his own accounts for his own personal use. Meyer faces up to 30 years in prison upon sentencing.

Read the story here.

Update (9/2/10): Meyer, now 40, was sentenced to more than 2 years in prison in this case. He pleaded guilty last November.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

South Carolina Men, Known As The "3 Hebrew Boys" Found Guilty In $82 Million Ponzi Scheme

Joseph Brunson, Tim McQueen and Tony Pough, of South Carolina, who operated variously as the "3 Hewbrew Boys LLC," and Capital Consortium Group, Inc., were convicted by a jury Friday for defrauding investors out of some $82 million in a Ponzi-type investment fraud scheme. Specifically, the jury found each of them guilty on 58 counts of mail fraud, money laundering and transporting stolen goods, after deliberating for 3 hours. According to the criminal complaint, since 2004, the 3 men lured at least 7,000 investors from two dozen states, including many from military bases and churches, with promises to help pay off debt at a fraction of its cost. The investments were purported to be made in foreign currency markets. Instead, the 3 used the investments funds for their own personal purposes, including a $25 million home near Walt Disney World, three Atlanta condos, three luxury stadium boxes in Charlotte and Atlanta, more than 20 cars, eight lots at a Northeast Richland subdivision, 20 acres of Orangeburg County land, a $1 million motor coach, and a $5 million personal jet. Sentencing is pending.

Read the story here, here and here.

Read the original complaint here and the indictment here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Florida Lawyer Suspected In Largest Ponzi Scheme Since Madoff

Scott W. Rothstein, 47, of Miami, Florida, is suspected of running a Ponzi-type investment fraud scheme that could top $1 billion in losses to investors, making it the largest since the Bernard Madoff case. Since 2005, according to a forfeiture complaint, Rothstein allegedly solicited investors for settlements of sexual harassment and other labor-related lawsuits. Rothstein reportedly offered investors a chance to buy the settlements at a discount in deals that would pay the original plaintiffs a smaller lump sum immediately. The investors would then collect a given settlement's full value over time. One such deal purported to provide annual returns of some 80 percent. However, prosecutors allege that many of the settlements offered by Rothstein never existed, defrauding the investors. The government's forfeiture complaint sought to seize Rothstein's 87-foot yacht, more than a dozen properties, bank accounts, ownership stakes in more than a dozen companies and 20 luxury cars, including a 2009 Bugatti Veyron that sells for $1.5 million, among other things.

Read the story here, here, here and here.

Read the amended civil complaint filed by investors here.
Update (3/11/10): Rothstein was sentenced this week to 50 years in prison for orchestrating a Ponzi-type investment fraud scheme that defrauded investors out of as much as $1.2 billion. Rothstein had pleaded guilty January 27, 2010 to one count of conspiracy to violate the racketeering influenced corrupt organization (RICO) statute; one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering; one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud; and two counts of wire fraud.

Connecticut Man Accused In Alleged $20 Million Ponzi Scheme

Michael S. Goldberg, 38, formerly of Wethersfield, Connecticut, has been arrested and charged in a federal complaint with operating a $20 million Ponzi-scheme investment fraud. The scheme allegedly bilked more than 100 investors over a 12 year period through his company, Acquisitions Unlimited Group, which promised investors 20 percent quarterly returns on the liquidation of assets from JP Morgan Chase. Rather than make investments as promised, Goldberg allegedly used the money for personal use and never had a relationship with JP Morgan Chase. The investors were from Connecticut, New York, Florida, Arizona, California and Vermont. He has been released on $1 million bond. Investigating authorities have asked for assistance from anyone with information about the case to contact the FBI's Hartford office at (203) 777-6311.

Read the story here, here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Louisiana Businessman Charged In $20 Million Alleged Ponzi Scheme

Matthew B. Pizzolato, 26, of Tickfaw, Louisiana, has been charged in a 64-count indictment with securities fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, witness tampering and obstruction of justice in connection with an alleged Ponzi-scheme that defrauded investors out of some $19.5 million. About 160 mostly elderly individual investors were defrauded in the scheme, according to prosecutors. According to the criminal complaint, Pizzaloto operated Gulf Region Guaranty, Inc. and numerous related entities by offering certificates of deposit and treasury bills at rates higher than market value and marketed them as "safe," "guaranteed" or "conservative." Instead of investing the funds as advertised, Pizzolato made high-risk futures investments and other risky ventures as well as spent the money on a lavish personal lifestyle and for his own personal use.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (4/4/10): Pizzolato pleaded guilty Thursday to 27 charges including mail fraud, wire fraud money laundering, securities fraud, and witness tampering.

California Man Pleads Guilty In $25 Million Investment Fraud Scheme

Richard M. Hersch, 72, pleaded guilty last week to defrauding investors at least $9.2 million in an investment Ponzi scheme that attracted over $25 million by promising as much as six percent per week. Hersch's scheme involved his company, All States ATM, Inc., which purported to place ATM machines at horse racing tracks around the country. Hersch was indicted last April on 15 felony counts. This is apparently the same Richard M. Hersch who was convicted in 1995 in a tax preparation fraud case.

Read the story here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Former South Carolina County Clerk Of Court Accused In $200K Embezzlement Case

S. Bradley "Brad" Morris, 32, of Union County, South Carolina, was charged last week with using his position as County Clerk of the Court to embezzle more than $200,000 from the county's child support fund. Investigators report that the thefts occurred between January and October of this year. Morris has resigned his position as Clerk of the Court. He was elected to that position in November 2004 at the age of 26 and ran again unopposed in 2008. He faces as much as 20 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Read the story here and here.

Read Morris' resignation letter here.

Former Kansas Executive Sentenced To 6 Months In $335K Embezzlement Case

Michael L. Halfman, 58, of Wichita, Kansas, has been sentenced to 6 months in prison for embezzling $335,532 from the Gessler Drug Company, where he had served as chief executive officer. Halfman had pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement and one count of making a false statement on a tax return in the case. Prosecutors announced that Halfman admitted to embezzling from cash deductibles on the sale of pharmaceuticals and general merchandise and then attempting to cover up the thefts with checks from the company's health benefit program.

Read the story here, here and here.

Pretty light sentence, if you ask me...

Former Montana School Trustee Accused Of Embezzling $237K

Linda Faye Harris, 50, of Florence, Montana and a former Trustee of the Florence, Montana School Board, has been accused of embezzling some $237,000 from CTA Architects, where she had been employed as a bookkeeper. According prosecutors, Harris forged checks to pay for student loans, personal expenses and personal credit card bills, among other things. In light of the allegations, Harris has resigned her position as school board trustee. She allegedly stole the money over a period of about 7 1/2 years between December 2001 and June 2009.

Read the story here and here.

Update (6/23/10): Harris, now 51, was sentenced to 10 years in prison with 8 years suspended. She was also ordered to pay restitution of $193,000. The amount she embezzled is now believed to be $180,000.

California Man Will Face Prison In $2 Million Embezzlement Scheme

Ryan S. Merman, 69, of Santa Rosa, California will face six years in prison plus restitution after reaching a plea agreement in a case in which he has been charged with embezzling nearly $2 million from STX Inc., where he had been employed as general manager with the responsibility for handling company finances. Merman's thefts allegedly occurred over a 7 year period between 2002 and 2009. He plead guilty last September to the charges that reportedly involved forging checks for his own benefit. According to STX's owner, Dianne Anderson, Merman embezzled between $200,000 and $300,000 from the company every year since he was first employed 12 years ago. Merman reportedly spent much of the stolen money on gambling and a lavish lifestyle. He awaits final sentencing next month.

Read the story here and here.

Rhode Island Woman Charged With Bilking School Lunch Program Out Of $335K

Beverly E. Howard, 53, of Westerly, Rhode Island, has been charged with embezzling $334,778.31 from Chartwells, the company that runs the East Lyme, Connecticut school system's food service program. Howard, who allegedly stole the money to support a gambling habit, was charged with first degree larceny. She had been employed as Chartwells' "Director of Dining." In an affidavit, Howard stated that she took cash out of the cafeteria revenues before making the daily deposits into the school lunch fund and created false deposit logs to cover the differences.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (4/13/10): Howard pleaded guilty today to one count of first degree larceny charges and faces up to 16 years in prison upon sentencing. She has agreed to pay full restitution as well. Read the updated story here.

Update (6/10/10): Howard was sentenced yesterday to 5 years in state prison with all but 9 months suspended. She was also ordered to pay $100 per month over five years ($6,000) as restitution, to her employer. Read the story here.

Connecticut Woman Charged With Embezzling $226K Had Gambling Problem

Cynthia S. Eddy, 52, of Preston, Connecticut, has been charged with embezzling some $226,000 from the Lakeside Condominium Association where she had been employed as business manager. Eddy reportedly told police investigators that she stole the money in order to feed her gambling habit at local casinos. She had amassed nearly $300,000 in gambling debts, according to reports. Eddy allegedly forged signatures of Association officers on checks which she deposited into her own accounts. She faces charges of first-degree larceny and third-degree forgery. The thefts apparently occurred over a four year period between 2005 and 2009. Eddy is currently seeking treatment for her gambling addiction at Better Choice in Norwich, Connecticut.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (9/24/10): Eddy was sentenced to six months in prison for embezzling nearly $300,000 from the Lakeside Condo Association where she had been employed for more than 20 years. She was also ordered to pay $298,927 in restitution, was banned from casinos and will also spend five years on probation after her prison term.

Minnesota Woman Charged In $676K Embezzlement Case

Gail Ann Williams, 51, of St. Paul Park, Minnesota, has been charged with embezzling some $676,000 from Stuart Co. of Bloomington, where she had been employed as the company's Executive Vice President of Finance. Williams has been charged with eight felony counts of theft by swindle of more than $35,000. Each carries a possible sentence of 20 years in prison and a $100,000 fine upon conviction. Over at least a five year period from 2004 to 2009, Williams fraudulently transferred funds from company bank accounts into her own accounts by wire transfer. She also served as finance officer for a related company, Nolan Family Limited Partnership. According to the criminal complaint, Williams spent the stolen money on an auto loan and expensive trips, among other things.

Read the story here and here.

Read the criminal complaint here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

California Skateboarding CFO Charged In $365K Embezzlement Case

Matthew Mercuro, 36, of San Clemente, California has been charged with embezzling some $365,000 from teenage professional skateboarder Ryan Sheckler, for whom he had been employed as chief financial officer. He has been charged with two felony counts of grand theft and faces nearly 7 years in prison if convicted on both counts. According to prosecutors, Mercuro transferred funds from Sheckler's companies to personal accounts of his wife and a friend. The thefts apparently occurred between June 2008 and April 2009, when Mercuro worked for Sheckler's companies, Ryan Sheckler Rips LLC and Sheckler Merch 2 LLC. Sheckler had a reality TV show called "Life of Ryan," which was canceled earlier this year.

Read the story here and here.

Update: Former California Law Firm Administrator Sentenced In $1.6 Million Embezzlement Case

Regina M. Schenck, 46, of Herald, California, was sentenced to 41 months in prison for embezzling $1,635,449.90 from the law firm of Diepenbrock Harrison in Sacramento, where she had been employed as an administrator. Schenck pleaded guilty last August to one count of computer fraud and one count of filing a false tax return. Prosecutors had alleged that starting in 1999 Schenck wrote law firm checks to pay her own bills, created false documents and lied to firm partners to get them to authorize checks she secretly used to buy horses and a horse trailer, among many other personal items.

Read FraudTalk's earlier posts on this story here and here.

Read the story here.

Update: Rhode Island Woman Pleads No Contest In Two Embezzlement Cases Totalling More Than $600K

Louise A. Distefano, 54, of Westerly, Rhode Island, pleaded no contest in two embezzlement cases she has been charged in where she bilked employers out of more than $600,000. She allegedly embezzled nearly $400,000 from Koolco Inc., a heating and air conditioning company where she was employed as a bookkeeper and more than $200,000 from Turning Pointe Therapeutic Riding, a non-profit organization.

Read FraudTalk's original post on this story here.

Read the story here.

Virginia Woman Sentenced In $500K Embezzlement Scheme

Karen L. Parish, 39, of Woodbridge, Virginia, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for embezzling more than $500,000 from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office where she had been employed as a financial analyst. Parish plead guilty in August to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with the case. According to the criminal complaint, from May 1998 and September 2005, Parish deposited customer monies into her own accounts and accounts of her co-conspirator, Michael H. Reid, disguising them as customer refunds. In all, Parish and Reid allegedly stole $534,338.55 in this manner. She has also been ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $527,478.55. Reid, 50, of Fort Washington, Maryland, pleaded guilty in August in the case and was also sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Read the story here and here.
Read the US Department of Commerce, Office of Inspector General's announcement here.

Update: New Jersey Ponzi Schemer Sentenced To 8 Years In Prison

Jeffrey J. Southard, 44, of Pittsgrove, New Jersey, was sentenced to 8 years in prison for operating an investment fraud scheme that bilked some 14 investors out of about $1.8 million. Southard was also ordered to pay $1.813 million in restitution and serve three years of supervised release upon release from prison. Southard pleaded guilty in June to mail fraud and signing a false tax return. Southard's investment fraud scheme was Ponzi-like, whereby he lured elderly investors in the area with promises of tax-free returns up to 11 percent of fraudulent bonds. According to the original complaint, Southard used investment funds to pay his mortgage, auto payments, private schooling for his five children, luxury vacations, cash withdrawals and numerous other personal expenses. Southard reportedly left American Express Financial Advisors under a cloud and then was hired by GunnAllen Financial in December 2003. He stayed with GunnAllen until July 2008 when he was being investigated by the firm for peddling fraudulent investments.

Read FraudTalk's earlier post on this story here.

Read the story here.

New Hampshire Paper Claims Large Scale Embezzlements "On The Rise"

The Merrimack Valley Eagle Tribune of New Hampshire published an article today outlining what it describes as an increase in large scale embezzlement cases in the state. Read the whole article here. The article cites the following cases recently in the news in and around the state:
  • Dawn Appel, North Andover — Charged with taking $38,482 from the North Parish Church. Case remains open.
  • Michelle Cote, Londonderry, N.H. — Stole $200,000 from Lambs Construction Corp. bank accounts. She was convicted, and is scheduled to be sentenced in January.
  • Cheryl Crawford, Derry, N.H. — Former Derry Citizen of the Year took more than $350,000 from the Derry Economic Development Corp. She was sentenced to one year in prison, and ordered to repay the victims and complete 100 hours of community service.
  • Joseph Lydick, Derry, N.H. — North Andover purchasing agent was charged with embezzling $20,800 of the town's money. Case remains open.
  • Marie Morey, Lawrence — Charged with taking $6,350 from the probation department at Lawrence District Court. Case remains open.
  • Alfred Perry, North Andover — The former chairman of the North Andover School Committee stole $22,361 from clients of his insurance agency. He was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to repay the victims.
  • Theresa Roccapriore, Groveland — Charged with stealing $136,000 from Lawrence General Hospital. Case remains open.

We would also add the following cases in the news this year from New Hampshire:

  • Lisa Fern Grass, 46, formerly of Boscawen, New Hampshire, who pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft in connection with her embezzlement of some $200,000 from the Concord Monitor.
  • Rebecca McGuire, 52, of Amherst, New Hampshire, who has been sentenced to to three concurrent 3 1⁄2-to 7-year terms for embezzling $311,500 from the Jasper Valley Swim and Tennis Club where she had been employed as a volunteer treasurer
  • Julie Ann Garrow, 44, of Alstead, New Hampshire, who was arrested for allegedly embezzling some $711,000 from a Vermont-based family-run graphics shop where she had been employed as a bookkeeper for 14 years.
  • Linda K. Blanchet, 45, of Milford, New Hampshire, who pleaded guilty to embezzling some $200,000 from her employer, Inside Track Cabling, a local family business where she had been employed as a bookkeeper.
  • Peggy Kempton, 58, of Hollis, New Hampshire, who has been indicted for allegedly embezzling $1.3 million from the Fruitlands Museum of Harvard, Massachusetts where she had been employed as its chief financial officer.
  • Desiree D. McLoughlin, 37, of Gonic, New Hampshire, who has been accused of embezzling some $80,000 from an unnamed law office in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. She reportedly had four prior convictions for theft.
  • Linda Sue Bevins, 53, of Goffstown, New Hampshire, who was accused of embezzling $1.6 million from the Crotched Mountain Foundation and is currently headed for trial.
  • Kelly Curley, 35, of Nashua, New Hampshire, who pleaded guilty to five counts of embezzlement by a bank employee and one count of identity theft in connection with the theft of more than $200,000 from an unnamed Massachusetts-based credit union.
  • Anthony L. Lopez, Jr., 34, of Sandown, New Hampshire, who was sentenced to 30 months in prison, plus restitution for embezzling nearly $500,000 from his former employer, NER Construction Management, Inc. of Wilmington, Massachusetts.
  • Raymond H. Douville, aka Raye Ellen Douville, 54, of Bedford, New Hampshire, who pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $100,000 in insurance premium funds entrusted to her agency for her own benefit.

Update: California Sheriff Sergeant's Wife Pleads Not Guilty In $1.6 Million Embezzlement Case

Kimberly Sue Sziraki, 44, of Atwater, California and the wife of Merced County Sheriff Department's Sgt. Steve Sziraki, pleaded not guilty Friday to charges she embezzled as much as $1.6 million from her employer, Central Valley Processing, a nut processing company, where she was employed as a manager. Prosecutors allege that Sziraki took client checks and deposited them into her own accounts over a period of about 2 years between 2006 and 2007. She was arrested this past January and has been charged on 16 embezzlement counts and one count of unlawful use of an access card. Sziraki faces up to 17 years in prison.

Read FraudTalk's original post on this story here.

Read the story here.
Update (6/11/10): Sziraki pleaded no contest to four felony counts of embezzlement and theft today. She is expected to be sentenced five to eight years in prison, as part of the plea agreement.

Former California Software Exec Indicted In $1 Million Embezzlement Case

Ethan Farid Jinian, 49, of San Francisco, California was indicted last week on charges he embezzled more than $1 million from Bricsnet FM America Inc. where he had served as chief executive officer. According to prosecutors, Jinian allegedly misappropriated the funds between November 2006 and September 2008 by directing other Bricsnet employees to issue him checks for cash he claimed was owed to him. Jinian was indicted on 14 counts of wire fraud and faces up to 20 years for each count if convicted, plus fines and restitution.

Read the story here.

Read the DOJ's announcement here.

Read the indictment here.

Update (10/28/11): Jinian, now 51, has been sentenced to 64 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,587,860 in restitution to Bricsnet FM America Inc., where he had served as CEO. 

Former Michigan CFO To Stand Trial In $123K Embezzlement Case

Tracy Litzinger, 45, of Okemos, Michigan and the former chief financial officer of the Michigan Public Health Institute, will face trial on two counts of embezzlement and one count of using a computer to commit embezzlement after waiving her right to a preliminary hearing in the case. Litzinger allegedly committed the embezzlement over a six month period between February and August of 2009 wherein she is accused of stealing at least $123,000 from the non-profit agency. She faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Read the story here, here and here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Update: Iowa Political Activist's Spouse Indicted In $5.9 Million Embezzlement Case

Marla Randolph Stevens, 58, of Des Moines, Iowa (pictured here), and the spouse of Phyllis Stevens, accused of embezzling some $5.9 million from Aviva USA, has been charged by a federal grand jury with one count of conspiring to commit money laundering and three counts of participating in financial transactions with money derived from criminal activity. Phyllis Stevens is still in custody on 18 felony counts related to the alleged embezzlement. Phyllis Stevens was a 35 year veteran employee of Aviva and is a well known political activist for same sex marriage and gay rights. The two have given tens of thousands of dollars in donations to Democrat candidates, PACs and causes, including Barack Obama. The two were reportedly married in Canada in 2005.

Read FraudTalk's earlier posts on this story here and here.

Read the story here.
Update (6/23/10): Phyllis Stevens has been declared competent to stand trial for her part in the embezzlement scheme that defrauded nearly $6 million from West DeMoines-based insurer, Aviva USA.
Update (8/2/10): According to reports, Phyllis Stevens plans an insanity defense for her involvement in this embezzlement scheme.