Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Former Idaho County Chief Deputy Clerk Investigated For $139K Alleged Embezzlement

Sandra "Sandy" Martinson, 61, of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, is under investigation by authorities in Kootenai County for allegedly embezzling $138,905 from county coffers, where she had served as Chief Deputy Clerk for some 35 years. According to authorities, a routine financial review after Martinson retired last month revealed the irregularities. Details regarding the alleged misappropriation have not been released although it is believed the funds have gong missing over the past ten years.

Developing...

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (1/13/11): Martinson was charged with one count of grand theft.

Update (8/20/11): Martinson, now 62, pleaded guilty to embezzling nearly $139,000 from Kootenai County where she had served as the longtime clerk.  Martinson was accused of writing at least 212 checks to herself from a county account that required only one signature, between 2000 and 2010 ranging from $300 to $950.  She then attempted to cover up her thefts by altering the records.

Update (10/31/11): Martinson was sentenced to 90 days in prison.  She was also ordered to pay $49,075 in restitution. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Utah Man Indicted in Georgia for Running a $30 Million Ponzi Scheme

Thomas Repke, 57, of Holladay, Utah, was indicted on charges he and a co-conspirator bilked at least 100 investors out of as much as $30 million in a Ponzi-type investment fraud scheme. Repke, through his companies, Coadum Capital and Mansell Acquisition Co., promised investors as much as 5 percent per month returns on investments allegedly made by him and a co-conspirator, James Jeffery, 58, of Ontario, Canada. Instead of investing the funds as promised, Repke and Jeffery allegedly transferred "substantial sums of money to themselves and more than $20 million to accounts in Switzerland and Malta for their own benefit. The scheme spanned approximately 2 years between January 2006 and December 2007, according to reports. The two were charged with 22 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to which they plead not guilty.

Read the story here and here.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Former Michigan Hospital Worker Re-Arraigned For Allegedly Embezzling $250K

Jennifer A. Spiker, 37, of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, was re-arraigned on charges she embezzled some $250,000 from War Memorial Hospital where she had been employed as a cashier. Spiker was originally charged in February 2009, but certain evidence was ruled inadmissible in court and she had to be re-arraigned. According to authorities, Spiker took cash receipts over a period of 7 years, from from 2001 to 2008. It is believed to be one of the largest embezzlement cases in Chippewa County history. Spiker is believed to have spent the cash on luxury items for herself. She faces up to 20 years in prison.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (5/9/12): Spiker, now 39 and known as Jennifer Veler, has been sentenced to 3 years in prison and ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays FraudTalk Readers!

Snow covered bridge near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania


Happy Holidays Everyone!

Former Bookkeeper From Arkansas Sentenced For Embezzling Nearly $700K

Katherine Anne West, 39, of Sheridan, Arkansas, was sentenced to 64 months in prison for embezzling nearly $700,000 from Lift Truck Services where she had been employed as a bookkeeper. According to authorities, over a period of 7 years, from 2001 until 2008, West created a phony vendor account in the name of P&K Enterprises and directed company payments to her personal vendors, such as credit cards bills, utilities and car loans. The total stolen was $698.873.06, according to the indictment. West, who was originally indicted on 152 counts of mail fraud and bank fraud last April, plead guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of bank fraud on June 3, 2010 in a plea agreement.

Read the story here.

Read the DOJ announcement of her indictment here.

Update: Wisconsin Man Sentenced For Embezzling $100K From Tire Company

Michael N. Wagner, 44, of Horicon, Wisconsin, was sentenced to one year in jail for embezzling $100,248 from Rinderle Tire of Neosho, where he had been employed as a manager. According to authorities, Wagner stole cash and deposited checks into his personal checking account over a period of about 11 years from 1998 through 2009. Wagner must also pay restitution of $64,000 and serve 10 years of probation. In addition, Wagner must serve six months of jail for each year he does not pay $6,400 in restitution by the end of the year.

Read the story here.

Pennsylvania Man Arrested For Embezzling $377K

Karl E. Breeden, 50, of West Manchester Township, Pennsylvania, was arrested this morning pending charges he embezzled more than $377,000 from Advanced Industrial Services where he had served as Chief Financial Officer. The arrest was the culmination of a five month investigation after company officials found financial irregularities in the books and records of the company. Breeden is expected to be charged with dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, forgery, theft and receiving stolen property. Details have not been released at this time.

Developing...

Read the story here and here.

Update (2/25/11): Breeden has now been charged with seven counts of forgery and one count each of dealing in proceeds illegal activities, theft by deception and receiving stolen property. He is alleged to have written checks to himself, taken unauthorized pay, used payroll funds to pay back loans he had taken out with the company and "cashed out" vacation time he had not earned. All told, Breeden is alleged to have misappropriated $377,701 from Advanced Industrial Services in Manchester Township, Pennsylvania where he had been employed as chief financial officer.

Update (11/30/12): Breeden, now 52, who was convicted in August of embezzling more than $377,000 from Advanced Industrial Services for whom he had served CFO, has been sentenced to one day less than a year in York County prison. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Former Execs of Miami-based Company Indicted on FCPA Violation Charges

Jorge Granados, 54, and Manuel Caceres, 64, the former CEO and the VP of business development, respectively, for Miami-based telecommunications company, Latin Node Inc., have been indicted on 19 counts of criminal violations of the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and international money laundering. According to prosecutors, Granados and Caceres allegedly payed more than $500,000 in bribes to government officials in Honduras for favorable contract terms involving Empresa HondureƱa de Telecomunicaciones (Hondutel). The bribes were reportedly paid between September 2006 and June 2007 to a key Hondutel manager, as well as to a senior attorney for Hondutel who acted as the manager’s “straw man,” and to a minister of the Honduran government who became a representative on the Hondutel Board of Directors. Latin Node had previously plead guilty to a one-count information charging the company with a criminal violation of the FCPA and agreed to pay a $2 million fine.

Read the story here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Former Nurse/Administrator in New Jersey Pleads Guilty to Charges She Embezzled As Much As $900K From Medical Concern

Heidi D. Facchini, 43, of Clark, New Jersey, pleaded guilty last week to charges related to her alleged embezzlement of as much as $900,000 from the North Fullerton Surgery Center where she had been employed as a nurse/administrator. According to authorities, Facchini made numerous personal purchases with the company American Express account, including vacations, Rolex watches, maid service, food, clothes and jewelry as well as diabetic supplies for her son. She is also alleged to have made unauthorized wire transfers from company accounts to those she controlled. Facchini's scheme reportedly spanned a 5 year period, from January 2005 until February 2010. She plead guilty to one count of theft by deception and one count of filing false and fraudulent state income tax return. Facchini's plea agreement may spare her from a prison when she is sentenced in March 2011. Facchini left the North Fullerton Surgery Center in February to work for the Florham Park Surgery Center as a nurse supervisor.

I hope the FPSC starts going over their books very carefully...

Read the story here and here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Former Indiana Bookkeeper and Current Municipal Treasurer, Accused of Embezzling $2 Million

Gail Evelyn Greathouse, 55, of Elizabethtown, Indiana, has been accused in a civil lawsuit by her former employer, LB Mold Inc., of embezzling as much as $2 million while she had served as its bookkeeper. Greathouse currently also serves as clerk-treasurer of the municipality of Elizabethtown - a position she has held for some 20 years. According to the lawsuit, Greathouse funnelled company monies to her daughter and son-in-law, Ronda Thompson and Dave Thompson, also of Elizabethtown. Some checks were made out to Black Wolf Performance, an auto repair shop owned by Dave Thompson and Greathouse. There is a criminal investigation ongoing, according to reports. She had been a bookkeeper for LB Mold for 13 years.

Elizabethtown had better start auditing its books...

Developing...

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (4/25/13): Greathouse, now 57, has been sentenced to 48 months in prison for embezzling what is understood to be $2.1 million from LB Mold, Inc.  The thefts spanned a period of at least 5 years from 2005 through 2010.  She was also ordered to pay full restitution.

Model Train Manufacturer in Missouri Victim of $200K Embezzlement Scheme

Jessica L. Harris, 30, of High Ridge, Missouri, has been arrested and charged with embezzling more than $200,000 from model train manufacturer, Micro Engineering, Inc., where she had been employed as office manager. According to reports, Harris forged checks for her own benefit over a period of about 5 years. According to her LinkedIn page, Harris is also the owner and co-founder of a arts and crafts business called Cap-itudes! Harris was an 8 year employee of the company.

I wonder where she got the money to start the business...

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (9/2/11): Harris has been formally was indicted on five counts of mail fraud in connection with her alleged theft of what is now believed to be at least $225,000 from model train maker, Micro Engineering.

New York Man Indicted Indicted On Charges He Embezzled $200K From VFW

Ralph R. VanAlstyne Sr., 62, of Gloversville, New York was indicted today on charges he embezzled a total of more than $200,000 from three veterans organizations: the American Legion Harold Wilmont Post 137, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Bernard W. Kierney Memorial Post #2077 and the Fulton County Disabled American Veterans Chapter 122, where he held fiduciary positions. The 14 count indictment includes six counts of third-degree grand larceny, one count of second-degree grand larceny, one count of fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, three counts of first-degree falsifying business records and three counts of second-degree offering a false instrument for filing. According to prosecutors, VanAlstyne's scheme spanned nearly 4 years from January 2005 until December 2008. The scheme apparently involved the siphoning of funds from the organizations' revenues from gaming operations. Prosecutors alleged that VanAlstyne shifted funds between accounts in an effort to hide his thefts.

Read the story here and here.

Update (6/7/11): VanAlstyne pleaded guilty to three felony counts and agreed to restitution of $186,527.  He will served up to six years in prison.

Texas Woman Sentenced For Embezzling Nearly $100K From Bank

Megan Hahn, 23, of Amarillo, Texas, was sentenced to one year and a day in prison for embezzling nearly $100,000 from the First Bank Southwest branch where she had been employed as a teller. According to authorities, Hahn stole cash from her cash drawer over a period of about two years, from 2008 until May 2010. She must also pay restitution in the amount of $93,000. Hahn allegedly attempted to conceal her thefts by changing the balance of her teller drawer on the bank computer by falsifying bank documents.

Read the story here and here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Illinois Woman Charged In $1.2 Million Embezzlment Scheme

Tammy R. Weart, 52, of Des Plaines, Illinois, has been charged with embezzling some $1.2 million from Specialty Moving Systems where she had been employed as company controller. According to prosecutors, Weart made at least 96 unauthorized electronic funds transfers of monies from company accounts into her own accounts over a period of six years from November 3, 2003 through December 31, 2009. The total amount alleged to have been stolen by Weart is $1,169,632.16. Weart has been charged with theft, financial institution fraud and continuing a financial crimes enterprise. The embezzlement scheme was reportedly discovered by a co-worker who filled in for Weart when she was on a leave of absence.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (6/24/11): Weart, now 53, has been sentenced to 11 1/2 years in prison. 

Former Tribal Governor In New Mexico Pleads Guilty To $242K Embezzlement

Joseph Marvin Herrera, 75, of Santa Fe, New Mexico, pleaded guilty to federal charges that he had embezzled $242,562 from the Tesuque Pueblo tribe for whom he had served as governor. According to authorities, Herrera made about 24 transfers of tribal funds to his own accounts via ATMs. He also admitted to issuing "numerous" checks to himself and to pay for personal items, including automobiles and travel. The misappropriations took place in 2008. Herrera reportedly reached a plea agreement with prosecutors that will not call for any prison time due to his advanced rectal cancer condition.

Read the story here and here.

Maryland Man Pleads Guilty To Embezzling Nearly $700K

Curtis Philip Pietro, 50, of Hagerstown, Maryland, pleaded guilty yesterday to charges he embezzled at least $691,323.97 from Glessner Alarm & Communications where he had been employed as vice president of finance. According to authorities, Pietro who had been employed by the company since 1986, wrote himself extra paychecks since 2006. Pietro is also alleged to have transferred company funds to his own American Express account since 2004. Pietro pleaded guilty to two counts of theft scheme of more than $500 and five counts each of forgery and uttering. Investigators believe the losses caused by Pietro could climb to as much as $800,000 or more.

Read the story here and here.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Michigan Man Charged With Embezzling More Than $100K From Wine Seller

Dan "Danny" Collins, 45, of Dowagiac, Michigan, has been arrested on charges he embezzled more than $100,000 from Nate Wines, Inc., a local wine seller here he had been employed as a salesman. According to authorities, Collins scheme, which has not been revealed, spanned more than four years from mid-2006 until November 2010.

Read the story here and here.
Watch the video here.

Developing...

Update (10/10/11): Collins, now 46, has been sentenced to 3 to 20 years in prison and must make full restitution for embezzling what is now reported to be $231,000 from Nate Wines, Inc.  Authorities alleged that Collins stole inventory from the company and sold it to others, pocketing the revenue, over a three year period.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

North Carolina Man Accused of Embezzling $635K from Hospital

Joel Kimble, 45, of Arden, North Carolina, has been charged with embezzling some $635,000 from the Pardee Hospital in Hendersonville, where he had been employed as an IT manager. According to authorities, over a period of about 3 1/2 years, between March 28, 2005 and September 30, 2008, Kimble ordered computer equipment under fraudulent warranty claims on behalf of the hospital and then resold it for his personal enrichment. He has been indicted on one count of embezzlement or theft, five counts of wire fraud and four counts of interstate transportation of stolen property. Cisco Systems, which provided the warranty parts fraudulently ordered by Kimble, was allegedly defrauded in the amount of at least $300,000.

Read the story here.

Update (5/17/12): Kimble was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $264,000 in restitution.

Texas Woman Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $2.4

Shannon K. DeMerse, 41, of Midlothian, Texas, pleaded guilty to charges she embezzled about $2.4 million from Ivy Jane, a local apparel business part-owned by Dallas City Council member, Dave Neumann. According to prosecutors, DeMerse embezzled the funds over a 7 year period, from 2002 to 2009. She was sentenced to 12 years in prison and ordered to pay full restitution.

Read the story here and here.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Kentucky Man Charged With Embezzling $3 Million From Ohio Company

Edward Cantrell, 36, of Florence, Kentucky, has been indicted on charges he embezzled some $3 million from Fin Pan Inc., a Hamilton, Ohio-based maker of construction products where he had been employed as financial controller. According to prosecutors, Cantrell executed more than 125 fraudulent transactions whereby he had company officials sign checks payable to company vendors but had them sent to a post office box and deposited them into his own accounts. He then transferred monies between accounts in an effort to cover up the thefts which spanned a five year period beginning in 2004. The 55 count indictment includes one count of aggravated theft; 11 counts of telecommunications fraud; 10 counts of forgery; 11 counts of money laundering; 12 counts of unauthorized use of computer, cable or telecommunication property; and 10 counts of securing writings by deception. Once he was confronted with discrepancies in the books, Cantrell disappeared. He was arrested yesterday in Arizona. Authorities allege that Cantrell used the stolen money to support a lavish lifestyle that included expensive cars and luxury vacations. The case is reportedly the largest embezzlement case to be prosecuted in Butler County, Ohio.

Read the story here and here.

Update (6/11/11): Cantrell pleaded guilty to 55 felony counts and faces up to 133 years in prison. 

Former Iowa Bank Officer Sentenced For Misappropriating $250K

Dana M. Schmieding, 40, of Cambridge, Iowa, was sentenced to 17 months in prison for misappropriating about $250,000 from U.S. Bank in Ankeny, Iowa, where she had been employed as a bank manager. According to prosecutors, Schmieding took unauthorized advances from existing consumer loans, originated loans in the names of the bank and bank customers without their knowledge or consent, and accessed established credit lines of various bank customers. Her scheme reportedly spanned a 7 year period, from 2001 to 2008. Schmieding plead guilty to one felony count of embezzlement by a bank employee. She was also sentenced to 5 years probation and ordered to pay full restitution.

Read the story here.

Former Accountant for Colorado Company Charged With Embezzling $270K

Sinath Chhim, 30, of Aurora, Colorado, has been charged with embezzling $267,900 from The Weitz Company, a construction company based in Iowa with significant Colorado operations where she had been employed as an accountant. According to authorities, Chhim's scheme involved the forging of checks and fake vendors she created. She has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit theft, two counts of theft, one count of conspiracy to commit forgery, 17 counts of forgery and one count of computer crime. Chhim's apparent husband, Vann Chea, 35, allegedly was involved in the scheme and has also been charged in the case with one count of conspiracy to commit theft, two counts of theft, one count of conspiracy to commit forgery and two counts of forgery.

Read the story here and here.

Former Bookkeeper for California Church Accused of Embezzling $2.1 Million

Sandra "Sandy" Arreola, 51, currently of Palm Desert, California, has been charged with embezzling some $2.1 million from the Visalia First Assembly Of God church where she had been employed as accounting manager for nearly 13 years. According to authorities, Arreloa skimmed monies from the church over a period of seven years, from 2003 until 2009 when the scheme was revealed. She allegedly stole as much as $7,000 a week from the collections and used the money to enrich herself, purchase luxury property and businesses.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (10/10/11): Arreola, now 52, pleaded guilty Friday to 13 counts of felony embezzlement and money laundering, admitting she embezzled some $2.1 million from the Visalia First Assembly of God church where she had served as accounting manager.  Arreola faces up to 11 years in prison.  She must also make full restitution, according to the plea agreement.

Update (10/27/11): Arreola was sentenced to 11 years in prison with credit for time served. 

Former Bookkeeper in Northern California Wreaked Havoc On Small Businesses With $240K Alleged Embezzlement

Catherine Bullard, 37, of Oakland, California, was indicted in July on four counts of wire fraud and five counts of bank fraud in connection with her alleged embezzlement of more than $240,000 from three local small businesses for whom she had served as bookkeeper. According to an article in the Contra Costa Times published today, the thefts have nearly ruined the three local businesses, including A Step Forward, a clothing and accessories store located in the Oakland Piedmont Avenue shopping district; Molly B, a fashion retailer with two locations in Berkeley, Calif.; and Monsoon Corporation, a custom jewelry establishment in the Montclair neighborhood of Oakland. Prosecutors allege that over a period of more than four years, from December 2005 until January 2010, Bullard siphoned funds from all three businesses primarily by forging checks from the businesses and depositing them into her own accounts.

Read the story here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Update (9/16/11): Bullard, now 38, has been sentenced to 27 months in prison for embezzling what is now believed to be a total of $525,000 from 3 fashion shops in the East Bay of the San Francisco area.  The thefts are now reported to have spanned a 7 year period, from 2003 until her indictment in 2010.  Bullard pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one count of wire fraud and two counts of bank fraud.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

West Virginia Woman Charged With Embezzling $700+K

Georgiana Ciavarello, 38, of Nitro, West Virginia, has been charged yesterday with embezzling more than $700,000 from Quail Ridge Construction Co. where she had been employed as a bookkeeper. According to authorities, Ciavarello used the company accounting system to write checks to herself over the past two years. She has been charged with 11 felony counts of embezzlement.

Read the story here and here.

Update (8/21/12): Ciavarello, now 40, has been sentenced to three years and one month in federal prison for tax evasion in connection with her embezzlement of what is believed to be $759,000 from Quail Ridge Construction. 


Pennsylvania Man Charged With Embezzling More Than $300K

Kevin S. Prasi, 28, of Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, has been arrested and charged with embezzling more than $300,000 from Vullo Motors in Scranton where he had been employed as finance manager. According to authorities, Prasi applied for duplicate loans on cars sold and then pocketed the cash. He is also alleged to have sold several vehicles as well as at least 22 repossessed vehicles and kept the proceeds without paying off the lien holder. The total amount alleged to have been misappropriated by Prasi over a period of nine months, from July 2009 to March 2010, was $304,941.93. Prasi has reportedly blamed his actions on a "serious gambling problem."

Read the story here and here.

Former Municipal Adjuster In Texas Pleads Guilty To Embezzling Nearly $2 Million

Patricia A. Leathers, 62, of Garland, Texas, pleaded guilty charges she embezzled at least $1.9 million from the City of Garland where she had served as municipal adjuster. According to prosecutors, Leathers, who handled third-party liability claims against the city, submitted fraudulent claims for payments to herself and to third parties which then then collected or shared the proceeds over a period of more than 14 years, from January 1994 until March 2008. One of Leathers' co-conspirators was her sister, Connie M. Powell, 59, who plead guilty for her part in the conspiracy earlier this month. Some of the funds Leathers misappropriated were federally granted. Leathers is scheduled to be sentenced on March 18, 2011.

Read the story here and here.

Update (12/30/10): Leathers pleaded guilty today to charges she embezzled some $1.9 million from the City of Garland, Texas. Sentencing is scheduled for March 18, 2011. She faces up to 5 years in prison.

Update (2/3/12): Two other conspirators in this case, Kenneth Wayne Brown, 50, and his wife, Leah Michele Brown, 46, were found guilty of participating in this embezzlement conspiracy.  They are due to be sentenced on May 18, 2012. The Browns reportedly cashed in checks written to themselves from the City of Garland coffers.

Update (5/18/12): Kenneth Wayne Brown was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison and Leah Michele Brown was sentenced to nearly 3 years in prison.  Each was also ordered to pay restitution of $300,000 and $142,000, respectively.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Former Bank Officer In Nevada Pleads Guilty To Embezzling More Than $2 Million

Melvin Rohs, 64, of Nevada City, Nevada, pleaded guilty yesterday to three counts of embezzlement by a bank employee and two counts of making a false statement in connection with a loan application. According to reports, Rohs misappropriated a total of $2,172,109.80 from Citizens Bank, where he had been employed as a senior loan officer. In September 2008, Rohs allegedly began embezzling from customer accounts and misappropriated funds from phony loans. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 1, 2011.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (5/25/11): Rohs, now 65, has been sentenced to 33 months in prison and ordered to pay $533,976 in restitution.

New York State Senator & Son Indicted On Charges They Misappropriated $500+K In Taxpayer Funds

New York State Senator, Democrat Pedro Espada, Jr., 57, of Mamaroneck, New York and his son, Pedro Gautier Espada, 37, were indicted yesterday on charges they misappropriated more than $500,000 in taxpayer funds. A federal grand jury indicted the two on five counts of embezzlement charges from a nonprofit health care network receiving federal funds and one count of conspiracy. The funds were allegedly siphoned out of Soundview Healthcare Center which Espada founded and which received more than $1 million in federal grant money each year. Authorities allege Espada and his son took funds from Soundview and applied them to other businesses they controlled. It has been reported that the skimmed monies went to support Espada's lavish lifestyle. According to U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, “The indictment alleges that funds that could and should have been applied to purchase medical equipment and enhance health-care services for an historically under-served population were diverted by the defendants for their personal use.”

Read the story here, here, here and here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Idaho Woman Sentenced For Embezzling $130K

Aimee Rebecca Scarisbrick, 33, formerly of Boise, Idaho, was sentenced to at least 1 1/2 years in prison for embezzling more than $130,000 from AAtronics, Inc., a local audio/visual equipment company where she had been employed as a bookkeeper. According to prosecutors, Scarisbrick forged company checks over a period of about 1 year between 2007 and 2008. Scarisbrick was originally charged with 24 felony counts of forgery and one felony count of grand theft.

Read the story here and here.

South Dakota Man Pleads Guilty To $5 Million Embezzlement Scheme

David Alfred Beulke, 62, of Brookings, South Dakota, pleaded guilty to mail fraud charges admitting he embezzled some $5,610,563 from 3M, where he had been employed as an engineer. According to prosecutors, over a 15 year period, Beulke created phony businesses, identified as Tri-State Technology and TNC Industrial Services, and submitted fraudulent invoices for payment as if they were legitimate vendors. The scheme reportedly spanned from February 1993 to October 2008. Authorities report that they have seized $2.48 million to date. Sentencing is scheduled for April 1, 2011.

Read the story here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Update (4/4/11): Beulke, now 63, was sentenced today to 51 months in prison.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Former Indiana State Trooper Accused Of Embezzling More Than $90K

Dallard Tackett, 59, of Nappanee, Indiana, has been accused of embezzling more than $90,000 from the Indiana State Police where he had served as a State Trooper. According to a probable cause affidavit filed in the criminal case against him, Tackett is alleged to have taken more than 28 checks intended for the state police, endorsing them to himself and depositing them into accounts he controlled. Authorities allege that Tackett used the stolen monies to pay for personal expenses, such as his mortgage car loan, credit card bills, utilities and other personal bills.

Read the story here, here and here.

Delaware Woman Arrested & Charged With Embezzling $285K

Donna M. Johnson, 60, of Milton, Delaware, has been arrested and charged with embezzling more than $285,000 from Sunshine Real Estate where she had been employed as a real estate agent. According to authorities, Johnson wrote unauthorized checks, took cash and make unauthorized debit withdrawals from company accounts. Her scheme allegedly spanned nearly five years, from June 2005 until April 2010.

Read the story here and here.

Former Union Treasurer In Nevada Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $125K

Mark Winfield Tracy, 65, formally of Reno, Nevada but currently of Ocala, Florida, pleaded guilty to embezzling some $125,000 from Teamsters Union, Local 533, where he had served as a treasurer. According to authorities, Tracy made unauthorized charges on union credit card accounts for personal expenses. The scheme allegedly spanned more than three years, from February 2006 to April 2009. Tracy was originally indicted last March on four felony counts including embezzlement and falsifying financial reports, but plead guilty to just the embezzlement charge in a plea agreement. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 7, 2011.

Read the story here and here.

Update (12/29/10): Tracy pleaded guilty to charges he embezzled $125,000 from teh Teamsters Union, Local 533 by misusing two union credit card accounts. He is due to be sentenced next March.

Washington State Man Sentenced For Embezzling $500K

Dale N. Frantz, 46, of Gig Harbor, Washington, was sentenced to five years and eleven months in prison for embezzling more than $500,000 from Auto Warehousing Co., where he had served as chief information officer. According to prosecutors, Frantz submitted fraudulent expense reimbursements and phony invoices for goods and services never delivered to the company. Franz also allegedly conspired with Michael A. Newman, the owner of Florida-based Asyncritus Technology, who submitted false invoices that were paid and where Frantz would take a cut of the proceeds. Frantz' embezzlement scheme spanned about 2 1/2 years from May 2007 to September 2009. He had plead guilty to one count of wire fraud last week. We note that Frantz reportedly was convicted in 1996 in Indiana for embezzlement.

Read the story here and here.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

California Boys & Girls Club Exec Charged With Embezzling $134K

Lynette Rojas, 37, of La Habra, California, was arrested and charged last week with embezzling more than $134,000 from the La Habra Boys and Girls Club where she had been employed as an executive assistant with bookkeeping responsibilities. According to authorities, Rojas stole more than $109,000 in cash from the club and wrote more than 2 dozen unauthorized club checks to herself totalling nearly $25,000. She has been charged with grand theft by embezzlement and 24 felony counts of computer access and fraud. The thefts allegedly occurred in April 2008 and totalled $134,540. As a result of Rojas' alleged thefts, several employees had to be laid off and cut off programs for needy children.

Read the story here and here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Michigan Man Pleads Guilty To Embezzling Nearly $1 Million From Auto Parts Supplier

Ribeiro Da Costa, a Brazilian citizen and a legal resident of Troy, Michigan, pleaded guilty to charges he embezzled nearly $1 million from Magneti Marelli North America, where he had been employed as an engineer manager. According to prosecutors, Da Costa submitted fraudulent expense reports over a period of nearly 3 1/2 years, from April 2007 to July 2010. He then deposited the proceeds into his personal accounts, wired the funds to Brazil or spent it on personal expenses.

Read the story here.

Hat tip: Reader Connie.

Oklahoma Woman Pleads Guilty to Charges She Embezzled More Than $1.5 Million

Lora L. Renshaw, 49, of Jones, Oklahoma, pleaded guilty to charges she embezzled $1,525,247.43 from Crown Electric, Inc., where she had been employed as a bookkeeper. According to prosecutors, over a four year period, from 2005 to 2009, Renshaw wrote more than 500 unauthorized checks, forging the signature of signatory to pay for personal expenses and enrich herself. Specifically, Renshaw plead guilty to a two-count Information charging mail fraud and filing a false tax return. She is due to be sentenced in about 3 months.

Read the story here, here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Update (5/10/11): Renshaw, now 50, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and was ordered to pay restitution.

Former Indiana Bookkeeper Sentenced For Embezzling $250K From Healthcare Concern

Rebecca Sudhop, 53, Fishers, Indiana, was sentenced to 4 years of home detention for embezzling some $250,000 from Wishard Heath Services where she had been employed as a bookkeeper in the Accounts Receivable department. According to authorities, Sudhop diverted funds intended for the hospital to her own benefit over a period of at least 3 years beginning in 2007. Sudhop was also sentenced to 4 years of probation following the home detention, plus counsel and restitution.

Read the story here and here.

Pretty light sentenced IMHO...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Former New Jersey College Staffer Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $500+K

Shaunette P. Ruffin-Moody, 48, of Jersey City, New Jersey, pleaded guilty today to charges she embezzled some $502,000 from New Jersey City University where she had been employed as office manager for the institution's student government organization. According to authorities, Ruffin-Moody conspired with her husband, Alexander A. Moody, 51, to issue at least 219 unauthorized checks to herself, her husband and three others. Ruffin-Moody plead guilty to felony charges of embezzlement and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. She has been suspended without pay from her position since earlier this year and also faces state charges of conspiracy, official misconduct, theft by deception, and forgery. Sentencing is scheduled for March 24, 2011.

Read the story here, here and here.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Missouri Janitorial Exec Indicted For Skimming Nearly $1 Million

Herman M. Schamber, 54, of Richmond Heights, Missouri, was indicted today on charges he siphoned off $964,000 from Nationwide Janitorial Services Inc., where he had served as President and had been employed for 30 years. According to prosecutors, Schamber owned a separate janitorial firm, Custom Janitorial Services and Supplies, based in Rutherford, New Jersey, which fraudulently billed Nationwide Janitorial Services and received remuneration for goods and services not performed. Those checks were received by Schamber at a post office box in New Jersey and then deposited into his own personal accounts. The scheme reportedly spanned a two year period, from May 2008 to June 2010.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (6/12/11): Schamber was sentenced to 33 months in prison.  He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $964,034.

Former Missouri Bookkeeper Indicted On Charges She Embezzled $380K

Sherri Berry, 49, of Ballwin, Missouri, was indicted on charges she embezzled $379,500 from an unnamed company where she had been employed as a bookkeeper. According to the indictment, Berry wrote at least 144 unauthorized checks to herself from company accounts. The scheme spanned nearly four years from February 2004 to December 2007. The indictment also alleges Berry attempted to evade income taxes for the same period. Our research reveals that Berry was employed at Pernikoff Construction Company based in St. Louis, from approximately 2000 until April 2008.

Read the story here.

Update (9/15/11): Berry, now 50, pleaded guilty to bank fraud and tax evasion and has been sentenced to 366 days in jail.

Former Florida Bookkeeper Reaches Plea Agreement In $667K Embezzlement Case

Karri March Hughen, 46, of North Naples, Florida, reached a plea agreement with prosecutors admitting she embezzled at least $667,000 from Pinnacle Home Builders where she had been employed as a bookkeeper for 14 years. Specifically, Hughen pleaded no contest to one count of a scheme to defraud and 224 counts of wire fraud. According to the plea agreement, Hughen will serve a 10-year state prison term and 20 years of probation and must pay restitution. According to authorities, Hughen made 224 electronic transfers of funds from company accounts to her own account as well as the account of her husband, Joe Hughen, Jr., 47, and her mother-in-law, Jane Hughen. The scheme reportedly spanned a 2 1/2 year period between January 2004 and August 2006. Her thefts reportedly forced the business to close, according to its former owner, Robert Macaluso. Hughen reportedly used the stolen funds to pay her personal bills and expenses, including mortgages on two homes, credit card and gambling debts. She had a prior criminal conviction for misdemeanor drug possession in 1993. We note that Joe Hughen's father, the now late Pastor Jack Hughen Sr., was forced to resign from the First Baptist Church he served on Marco Island after embezzling and stealing church donations over a 20 year period.

Read the story here, here and here.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Small Businesses Face Greatest Risk for Fraud & Embezzlement

By Christopher T. Marquet

Every organization large or small, public or private, for-profit or non-profit, is subject to fraud, waste and abuse. Anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that economic factors, such as poor economic times, may increase the frequency of fraud, including employee theft, specifically embezzlement. However, our research suggests that small businesses face a greater risk for this kind of business fraud than do larger entities. An analysis by Marquet International, Ltd. of more than 1,000 major embezzlement cases over the past three years reveals that the vast majority of the victim companies are privately held, small and medium-sized businesses.

We believe the primary reason for this phenomenon is that small businesses tend to concentrate their finance activities with one or perhaps a small group of individuals who have significant control over all company finances. Our research also indicates that more than 60 percent of these embezzlement cases are caused by employees with principally finance/ bookkeeping responsibilities. Moreover, based upon our research, finance and bookkeeping employees are four times as likely to embezzle as the next category of employee, general managers. It is logical, therefore, that organizations with few finance personnel and weak business controls, will be at greatest risk for embezzlement. Consider the following very recent cases in the news:

  • On December 5, 2010, Karen Marie Sosa, 44, formerly of Nutley, New Jersey, was sentenced to 7 years in prison for embezzling some $545,000 from Lynnes Nissan where she had been employed as an accounts payable clerk. According to prosecutors, Sosa was keeping for herself cash receipts intended for the parts and services department of the dealership instead of depositing them into company accounts. Her scheme reportedly spanned a 2 year period between 2007 and 2008.
  • Also on December 5, 2010, Heather E. Wylie, 39, of Butte, Montana, was sentenced to 30 years in prison with 10 years suspended for embezzling $154,579 from a local attorney, Dan Sweeney, for whom she had been employed as a bookkeeper. According to authorities, Wylie forged checks payable to herself and was requiring clients to pay cash which she would then pocket. The scheme spanned more than a three year period from December 2004 to April 2008.
  • On November 28, 2010, Jill M. Sznajder, 44, of Greene Township, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 16 months to 7 years in prison for embezzling an admitted $163,120 from Pustelak Masonry, where she had been employed as an administrative assistant and bookkeeper. According to authorities, Sznajder issued herself numerous extra weekly paychecks, insurance-premium payments and vendor checks as well as unauthorized pay raises and loans from the company. Sznajder's scheme reportedly spanned an 8 year period, from 2001 through 2009. Pustelak Masonry owner Bill Pustelak believes Sznajder actually stole about $256,000 based upon his own internal investigation.

These examples are quite typical cases taken from our FraudTalk blog which illustrate some of the common factors involved in major embezzlement cases these days – small business victims, the prevalence of female perpetrators, finance/bookkeepers as perpetrators, duration of the frauds spanning more than four years, on average, and common schemes. Our research also suggests that the most common embezzlement schemes include the following:

  • Forging checks payable to cash, oneself and/or to personal vendors
  • Pocketing cash receipts meant for deposit into company accounts
  • Issuing extra paychecks and/or bonus checks through payroll to oneself
  • Submitting fraudulent expense reports for reimbursement
  • Submitting fraudulent invoices from phony or legitimate vendors
  • Abusing company credit card accounts for personal use
  • Electronic transfers of company funds to personal accounts and/or vendors
  • Pilfering company equipment and/or inventory

Non-profits, including religious organizations, also face a similar risk as they tend to have fewer resources and small finance departments with weaker business controls in place. In fact, we found that these types of organizations comprised more than 10 percent of all the major embezzlement cases analyzed. This is a fairly high percentage, given the sheer number of businesses, financial institutions, government agencies and other organizations that were victims of major embezzlements in the past three years.

The risk to small and midsized businesses can be catastrophic. Many businesses with significant losses over multiple years have had to cut benefits, lay off personnel, postpone expansion plans or shutter themselves entirely. Some long-time family businesses have been utterly destroyed. Nevertheless, there are some proactive steps small businesses can take to minimize the risk of embezzlement. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Do not allow a single individual access to all aspects of company finances. Make sure there is a division of duties in the finance department.
  • Regularly rotate responsibilities for bookkeeping personnel.
  • Require bookkeeping personnel to take time off and vacations. Embezzlers often take little or no vacations to perpetrate their schemes.
  • Do not allow bookkeepers to take work home.
  • Require two signatories on outgoing checks above a certain nominal amount. The signatories should be different individuals from the check preparer.
  • Examine cancelled checks regularly. One common method of embezzlement involves the forgery of checks. Another is to have them payable to the embezzler or their personal vendors.
  • Maintain unused checks in a lockbox. Be sure all checks, purchase orders and invoices are numbered consecutively and reconcile any of those missing.
  • Conduct regular as well as random audits. Owners should take a hands-on management approach by physically spending time with the bookkeeping department.
  • Audit petty cash regularly.
  • Audit credit card charges regularly.
  • Audit expense reports regularly.
  • Be sure each payment, electronic or otherwise, is backed up with appropriate documentation.
  • Backup financial records daily.
  • Make and reconcile daily deposits. Use a “for deposit only” stamp for check deposits. The person recording cash receipts should be different from the one making the actual deposits.
  • Bank reconciliations should be made by a different person than those that handle cash receipts and cash disbursements.
  • Know who your vendors are. Embezzlers often create phony vendors and submit fraudulent invoices for payment.
  • Examine payroll records regularly. Some embezzlers issue themselves extra paychecks and bonuses through the payroll system.
  • Investigate customer and vendor complaints promptly. If vendors are not being paid as expected, it may be a sign that the payment checks are being diverted.
  • Conduct pre-employment background checks for all personnel with fiduciary duties.
  • Prosecute perpetrators, creating a permanent record future employers can find.

While employee theft is all too common in today’s business climate, prudent steps, such as those outlined above, can help minimize the risk. While small businesses may find some of these steps difficult to implement, they are well worth the effort given the potential downside.

Christopher T. Marquet is Chief Executive Officer of Marquet International, Ltd., an investigative and security consulting firm based in Boston, Massachusetts. He can be reached at (617) 733-3304 or chris@marquetinternational.com. Marquet International publishes its annual Marquet Report on Embezzlement which can be found on our website at www.marquetinternational.com

Illinois Coprorate Pilot Charged With Embezzling $400K

Ricky Hanson, 45, of Round Lake, Illinois, has been charged with embezzling more than $400,000 from Family Video, a national DVD and video game chain based in Illinois which he had served as pilot for the company's executives. According to authorities, Hanson submitted fraudulent expense reports for reimbursement over a three year period, beginning in 2007. Hanson reportedly spent the misappropriated funds on luxury travel and shopping trips.
Read the story here and here.

Hat tip: Reader Joe

Monday, December 6, 2010

Former New Jersey Bookkeeper Sentenced For $545K Embezzlement Scheme

Karen Marie Sosa, 44, of Belleville, New Jersey and formerly of Nutley, New Jersey, was sentenced to 7 years in prison for embezzling some $545,000 from Lynnes Nissan where she had been employed as an accounts payable clerk. According to prosecutors, Sosa was keeping for herself receipts intended for the parts and services department of the dealership instead of depositing them into company accounts. The thefts reportedly occurred between 2007 and 2008. Sosa was originally charged with the thefts in September 2009 after an audit revealed the scheme.

Read the story here, here and here.

2 Illinois Men Charged With $1.1 Million Embezzlement Scheme

Harvey Cruz, 46, of Plainfield, Illinois and James Lurito, 63, of Algonquin, Illinois, were arrested last week and charged with embezzling approximately $1.1 million from the Million Dollar Round Table insurance association where Cruz had served as IT manager. According to authorities, Cruz recruited Lurito, who controlled an independent IT consulting firm, to submit phony invoices which Cruz approved. Lurito then kept 10 percent and kicked back 90 percent to Cruz. The scheme reportedly spanned a six year period from 2003 until 2009.

Read the story here, here and here.

Hat tip: Reader Joe.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Pennsylvania Bookkeeper Charged With Embezzling $100K

Carol Leonhardt, 47, of Bensalem, Pennsylvania, has been charged with embezzling more than $100,000 from Giles and Ransome Inc., a construction equipment company, where she had been employed as a bookkeeper. According to authorities, Leonhardt wrote checks to herself from company accounts. She reportedly was having financial difficulties and was afraid of losing her home. Leonhardt has been charged with felony theft, forgery and access device fraud. According to media reports, Leonhardt told police investigators that "the more she took the easier it became."

Read the story here.

Montana Woman Sentenced For Embezzling $154K

Heather E. Wylie, 39, of Butte, Montana, was sentenced to 30 years in prison with 10 years suspended for embezzling $154,579 from a local attorney, Dan Sweeney, for whom she had been employed as a bookkeeper. According to authorities, Wylie forged checks payable to herself and was requiring clients of the firm to pay cash which she would then pocket. In addition to embezzlement, Wylie was found guilty of forgery. The scheme spanned more than a three year period from December 2004 to April 2008.

Read the story here and here.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Alabama Woman Indicted For Embezzling Nearly $300K From Landscape Concern

Stacia Woodman, 36, of Leeds, Alabama, was indicted on charges she embezzled nearly $300,000 from J. Loper and Company, a local landscape company where she had been employed as a bookkeeper. According to prosecutors, Woodman "used" company checks to pay for personal expenses over a period of three years, from approximately January 2006 until February 2009. Woodman was indicted on 8 felony counts, including mail fraud and tax fraud and seeks forfeiture of $298,126 "as proceeds of illegal activity." The indictment also alleges Woodman failed to report some $190,000 of the embezzled proceeds as income to the IRS.

Read the story here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Update (5/24/11): Woodman was sentenced to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $427,488, the amount ultimately determined she embezzled from J. Loper and Company.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Former Credit Union Exec In Texas Indicted For Embezzling More Than $1.1 Million

Sandra H. Cooper, 56, of Orange, Texas, was indicted on charges she misappropriated $1,164,360 from the Orange County Employees Federal Credit Union where she had served as president. According to authorities, over a four and a half year period, Cooper wrote checks to herself from credit union accounts in amounts generally ranging from $5,000 to $9,500 for her own benefit. Cooper was indicted on 14 counts of embezzlement by an employee of a federally insured financial institution and 7 counts of money laundering. Cooper faces up to 30 years in prison for each embezzlement charge and 10 years in prison for each money laundering charge, if convicted.

Read the story here and here.

Update (3/1/11): Cooper pleaded guilty today to money laundering charges admitting she embezzled nearly $1.2 million from the Orange County Employees Federal Credit Union over a four and a half year period.

Former Non-Profit Exec From Texas Sentenced For $390K Embezzlement Scheme

Michael Woodson Burney, 54, of Midland, Texas, was sentenced to two consecutive terms totalling 51 months in prison for embezzling more than $390,000 from Camp Fire USA where he had served as executive director. According to authorities, beginning in June 2007 through November 2009, Burney wrote numerous checks from the non-profit's accounts to himself to support a gambling habit forging the signature of two board members. He had plead guilty in August after being indicted in July to one count of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. Burney was also ordered to pay full restitution to Camp Fire USA and its insurer.

Read the story here and here.
Read the DOJ announcement of Burney's guilty plea here.

Former Finance Director for Texas School District Charged With Embezzling $111K

Sylvia Yvonne Ruiz, 58, of Hidalgo County, Texas, was arrested yesterday and charged with embezzling $111,100 in tuition fees from the Hidalgo Independent School District where she had served as finance director. Authorities have not released the details in the case yet, but Ruiz is alleged to have misappropriated the funds between August 2009 and January 2010. Ruiz, who apparently took tuition receipts for herself instead of depositing them for the school district, has been charged with Theft By Public Servant.

Developing...

Read the story here and here.

Three Arizona Residents Indicted In Loan Kickback Scheme

William "Bill" Liddle, 50, his wife, Rhonda Monica Liddle, 45, and Frank Ruiz, 61, all of Yuma, Arizona were indicted on 68 counts alleging they conspired to commit fraud against AEA Federal Credit Union where William Liddle had served as Vice President of Business Lending. According to the indictment, William Liddle conspired with local businessman, Frank Ruiz to approve more than $25 million "suspicious business loans" for Ruiz' company, Yuma Fun Factory, in exchange for almost $1 million in kickbacks to the Liddle's. Yuma Fun Factory has filed for bankruptcy.

Read the story here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Update (2/28/14): Read an update of the story here.  Both Liddle's were convicted and sentenced to prison.

Ohio Executive Sentenced For Pilfering $186K From Employee Retirement Plan

Gary L. Merritt, believed to be 60 years old, of Dayton, Ohio, was sentenced to just five years probation for embezzling $186,070 from the employee retirement plan of Bemcore Inc., where he was employed as a vice president as well as served as trustee for the company's 401(k) retirement plan. Merritt must also pay full restitution as part of the sentence. Merritt, who was indicted in May, plead guilty in August to a one-count indictment of embezzlement from an employee retirement plan for his own benefit. According to authorities, Merritt's misappropriation occurred between January 22, 2009 and May 12, 2010.

Read the story here and here.

Read the US Department of Labor announcement here.

Seems like a light sentence to me, IMHO...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tennessee Man Charged With Embezzling $167K From Non-Profit

Michael Edward Callahan, 61, of Sumner, Tennessee, was indicted on charges he embezzled nearly $167,000 from Kentucky-based Shareware Industry Awards Foundation where he had served as Chairman. According to authorities, Callahan misappropriated the funds over a nearly five year period, from March 2005 until December 2009. The scheme apparently involved direct transfers of funds to himself as well as unauthorized credit card charges for his own benefit. The Foundation supports independent software companies.

Read the story here and here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Calfornia Woman Admits To $116K Embezzlment

April G. Hale, 38, formerly of Windsor, California, pleaded no contest to charges she embezzled some $116,000 from the Law Offices of Michael A. Villa where she had been employed as the firm's bookkeeper/office manager. According to reports, Hale made electronic funds transfers to pay for personal expenses such as credit card bills, utility bills and the like. Attorney Villa claimed Hale supported a "lavish lifestyle" through the thefts from his firm. Hale pleaded no-contest to six felonies including one count of grand theft and five of identity theft. She was originally charged in June on 41 felony counts and is scheduled to be sentenced on January 31, 2011.

Read the story here and here.

Former Executive Of Virginia Company Sentenced To 5 Years For $580K Misappropriation

Iraj "Roger" Ahmadian, 54, of Williamsburg, Virginia and Memphis, Tennessee, was sentenced to 5 years in prison for misappropriating nearly $580,000 from Dillon Stone Corporation where he had been employed as Executive Vice President. According to authorities, Ahmadian received additional unauthorized paychecks and caused checks to be issued to fictitious subcontractor he created known as Phoenix Tile for his own benefit. The scheme spanned approximately four years, from 2003 to 2007. Ahmadian, who was indicted in February 2010 on 20 counts, plead guilty earlier this year to one felony count of bank fraud and one felony count of tax evasion.

Read the story here, here and here.

Hat tip: Reader Joe.

New York Man Charged With Embezzling $4.5 Million From Columbia University

George Castro, 48, of the Bronx, New York, has been arrested and charged with misappropriating some $4.4 million from Columbia University. According to authorities, Castro added a TD Bank account he controlled to Columbia's authorized electronic payment system and received $3.4 million in October and another $1 million in November. His relationship with the university is unclear at this time. However, the account he controlled was under the name IT Security Solutions LLC.

Developing...

Read the story here and here.

Hat tip: Reader Joe.

Maryland Man Sentenced To 15 Months For $1 Million Embezzlement Conspiracy Against The National Archives

James Clay Whitson, 45, of Nottingham, Maryland, was sentenced to 15 months in prison for embezzling nearly $1 million from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration where he had been employed as property management specialist. According to authorities, Whitson and a co-conspirator, Robert Caleb McCray, 44, of Silver Spring, Maryland, paid McCray's cleaning company for work that was never done or paid inflated rates, pocketing the difference. The two split the proceeds, according to prosecutors. The scheme reportedly spanned more than four years, from July 2002 to September 2006. McCray, who plead guilty in September, is also serving 15 months in prison. Whitson was also ordered to pay $958,280.64 in restitution. The two were originally indicted in August 2007 on 10 fraud counts.

Read the story here and here.

Read the DOJ's original announcement here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Former Treasurer In Upstate New York Pleads Guilty In $370K Embezzlement Scheme

Gerard J. Whittington, Sr., 67, of Erie County, New York, pleaded guilty to charges he embezzled nearly $370,000 from the Aurora-Colden Fire District where he had served as treasurer. Specifically, Whittington plead guilty today to two counts of second degree grand larceny. Authorities believe Whittington had been embezzling from the federally funded Fire District for at least 8 years, until he was terminated this past summer and used the stolen funds to support his fire truck repair business operating. He allegedly wrote checks to himself, his business or otherwise for his own benefit as well as made unauthorized credit card purchases. Whittington has reportedly paid back some $271,989 but will face prison time and restitution for the remaining amount outstanding.

Read the story here and here.

Florida Woman Indicted In Alleged $113 Million Ponzi Scheme Case

Lydia I. Cladek, 66, of St. Augustine, Florida, has been indicted on charges she bilked investors out of more than $113 million. Cladek, the owner and principal of investment firm Lydia Cladek, Inc., is alleged to have used investment funds to purchase high interest auto loans, then issued promissory notes secured by the vehicles, and used the proceeds to enrich herself and pay off earlier investors. Cladek reportedly was guaranteeing investors a return of up to 20 percent per year in the scheme. The 14 count indictment charges Cladek with wire fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud.

Read the story here, here and here.

Pennsylvania Woman Sentenced In $163K Embezzlement Case

Jill M. Sznajder, 44, of Greene Township, Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 16 months to 7 years in prison for embezzling an admitted $163,120 from Pustelak Masonry, where she had been employed as an administrative assistant. According to authorities, Sznajder issued herself numerous extra weekly paychecks, insurance-premium payments and vendor checks as well as unauthorized pay raises and loans from the company. Sznajder's scheme reportedly spanned an 8 year period, from 2001 through 2009. Pustelak Masonry owner Bill Pustelak believes she actually stole about $256,000, according to his own internal investigation. Sznajder, who plead guilty to one felony count of theft, was originally charged last August. The judge who heard her case, Erie County Judge John Garhart, has yet to decide restitution. Sznajder, apparently an aspiring writer, had the following to say on her Suite101.com membership profile:
I have been writing articles here and there for another up and coming website since October or November of 2006. I never really thought about writing as a means of making money - it started out to be just for fun.

I am 40 years old and stuck in an absolute horrible, dead-end bookkeeping job. I have been looking for another position, but quite frankly, I really don't want to do this type of work anymore. I also work part-time as a Stylist in a local salon. I have had my Cosmetology license for 20 years and this is what I love doing.

I am married, actually it will be 14 years this year (2007), to Mark, and I have one 20 year old son, Joshua, who is in his 2nd year of College at a local University - his major is Psychology. I also have a female, black Cocker Spaniel - she is 3 years old and is just a "peanut". Her name is Tisha Mae and she is my little baby girl.

My family resides in Northwestern Pennsylvania on Lake Erie - where it gets very cold in the winter. We are a somewhat normal family with the same ups and downs that just about every family experiences. Not too normal, and not too dysfunctional - it gives all the members of our extended families (mostly my family) things to gossip about - and they sure are good at that.

Anyway, I want to continue to write my articles and I want to explore some other options as far as writing short stories, etc. to see what I can do with that. If anyone has any suggestions or adivice I welcome you to contact me at bigbrowneyes8407@yahoo.com.

Good luck to you in your writing endeavors.

Jill Sznajder

Read the story here and here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Duke University Employee In North Carolina Accused Of Embezzling $267K From Institution

John William Cotton, 49, of Raleigh, North Carolina, has been charged with embezzling some $267,000 from Duke University, where he had been employed as head of the Department of Surgery. According to authorities, Cotton used his position to order goods and services for his own personal use as well as cash receipts. Research suggests that Cotton was a registered nurse and nurse clinician at Duke's Department of Surgery.

Read the story here.

California Man Accused Of Embezzling $150K From Armored Car Company; Spends It On Strippers

Orlando Flores, 27, of Ripon, California, has been charged with embezzling nearly $150,000 from Garda Cash Logistics, an armored car company, where he had been employed as a driver. According to authorities, since 2009, Flores stole cash from monies while loading ATM machines in small denominations and spent it at strip clubs. Flores allegedly frequented the Deja Vu Showgirls club in Stockton, California. Authorities believe Flores stole $148,000 in total.

Read the story here, here and here.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Former Executive Director of SunRise Academy In Washington, DC Indicted For Misappropriating $2.4 Million in Federal Funds

Charles Ike Emor, a/k/a Charles Ike Emenogha, 50, of Hyattsville, Maryland, was indicted on charges he misappropriated more than $2.4 million in federal funds earmarked for educational purposes for SunRise Academy where he had served as executive director. According to authorities, over a period of nearly five years, from January 2006 through November 2010, Emor caused funds to be transferred to an entity he had created and controlled called Core Ventures, LLC. According to the indictment, Emor used the ill-gotten gains to enrich himself and support a lavish lifestyle that included college tuition for his son, rent for his ex-wife, and luxury items such as jewelry, watches, artwork, televisions and other electronics, custom clothing, and high-end vehicles. SunRise Academy is a school for learning and emotionally disabled boys. Emor faces up to 87 months in prison if convicted.

Read the story here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Former Viginia Secretary of Finance Sentenced in $4 Million Embezzlment Scheme

John W. Forbes, II, 54, of Richmond, Virginia, was sentenced to 120 months in prison for embezzling more than $4 million from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission while he had served as Secretary of Finance for the Commonwealth of Virginia. According authorities, Forbes created fictitious entities, including the Community Development Council and International Business Associates, to which he issued some $2.2 million in checks of public funds. He also oversaw a non-profit entity, the Literary Foundation of Virginia, which received $5 million in state grant monies which is also misappropriated from, according to authorities. Forbes must also pay restitution of $4 million.

Read the story here and here.

Former Illinois Bank Manager Charged With $835K Embezzlement

Stephen R. Bradley, 64, of Petersburg, Illinois, was charged with embezzling nearly $835,000 from Petefish, Skiles & Co. Bank, a local financial institution where he had served as an executive and bank manager. According to authorities, Bradley's scheme spanned more than 7 years, from January 2003 until March 1, 2010. He had been employed by the bank since 2000. According to the bank, the embezzlement involved the creation of bogus loans. The total amount misappropriated is believed to be $834,945. Bradley faces up to 30 years in prison, a $1 million fine, plus restitution if convicted.

Read the story here and here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our readers.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tennessee Mother & Son Charged With Bilking Church $1.5 Million

Barbara D. Whitt, 68, and her son Michael Dean Whitt, 42, both of Morristown, Tennessee, were charged with misappropriating more than $1.5 million from the First Baptist Church in Morristown where she had served as church financial secretary for 47 years. According to authorities, Barbara Whitt issued at least 1,650 checks made out to "cash" pocketing the funds. The thefts are believed to have spanned a period of more than 2 years, from January 2008 until April 2010. Michael Whitt is alleged to have participated in the fraud and benefitted from the ill-gotten proceeds.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (2/15/11): Barbara Whitt and her son, Michael Whitt, pleaded guilty to charges they embezzled more than $1.5 million from teh First Baptist Church in Morristown. Barbara Whitt pleaded guilty to bank fraud and money laundering and Michael Whitt pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiracy to launder money.

Update (9/2/11): Whitt, now 70, was sentenced to 44 months in prison.

New Mexico Couple Indicted For Misappropriating $270K From Bank

Anthony Michael Moya, 34, and Eunice Brenda Moya, 37, husband and wife, both residents of Santa Fe, New Mexico, were indicted on charges they misappropriated nearly $270,000 from CitiFinancial, Inc., where Anthony had been branch manager. According to the indictment, over a period from June 2004 to October 2005, the Moyas recruited "nominee" or straw borrowers who signed loan documents the proceeds of which they then misappropriated. They each face up to 30 years in prison, plus a fine of $1 million and restitution.

Read the story here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Read the indictment here.

Update (12/8/11): Anthony Moya, now 35, pleaded guilty to misapplication of funds by a bank official as part of a plea agreement.  The plea agreement included dropping charges against Moya's wife, Eunice Moya.