Friday, January 23, 2009
Former California Banker Pleads Not Guilty To Embezzling Educational Trust Fund
James Lester Harrison, 61, of Ukiah, California has pleaded not guilty to charges he embezzled from an educational trust he managed at the Savings Bank of Mendocino County where he was employed as a vice president until 2005 when allegations surfaced. Harrison is accused of looting the Viola and Oscar Allen Trust, which was set up in 1993 for the benefit of student scholarships at Ukiah High School, to the tune of some $421,000. The Allen's had named Harrison trustee. Prosecutors alleged in their criminal complaint that Harrison used the trust as his "own personal piggy bank" for 14 years. Harrison reportedly used the money to purchase real estate, luxury vehicles, pay credit cards and make personal loans, among other things.