Sunday, February 28, 2010

Update: Nadel Pleads Guilty In Nearly $400 Million Ponzi Scheme

Arthur G. Nadel, 77, of Sarasota, Florida, pleaded guilty Wednesday to all 15 charges he ran a Ponz-type investment fraud scheme that bilked investors out of some $360 million. Nadel was indicted last April on 15 counts of securities fraud, wire fraud and mail fraud in connection with his alleged Ponzi scheme investment fraud involving his Scoop Management Inc. money management company. Nadel has agreed to forfeit $162 million and a prison sentence of at least 12 1/2 years. Nadel, an attorney by training, was disbarred in 1982 for taking $50,000 in escrow funds from a client in a real estate deal.

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

Read the story here and here.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Trial Scheduled For Elderly Illinois Woman Who Allegedly Embezzled More Than $100K From School District

An April 12th trial has been set for Patricia Howe, 78, of Streator, Illinois, who is accused of embezzling more than $100,000 from the Streator Woodland School District where she had been employed as bookkeeper. Howe was charged last December with felony theft for allegedly forging more than 70 checks for her own benefit. Howe's scheme reportedly lasted more than 4 years between March 2005 and April 2009.

Align Left Read the story here and here.

Update: Howe was sentenced to 5 years in prison for embezzling some $124,000 from the Streator Woodland School District.

Friday, February 26, 2010

California Man Arraigned For Allegedly Embezzling Nearly $1 Million From Church

Farrukh Ahmed, 47, of Ontario, California, was arraigned yesterday on charges he embezzled as much as $960,000 from the Calvary Chapel Chino Hills where he had served as church administrator. Ahmed's cash thefts from the church reportedly span a four year period since the time he was hired as administrator. Details are scant at this time, but it appears Ahmed simply took cash from tithe envelopes meant for the church, according to reports. Ahmed was originally arrested December 23, 2009 by Chino police after he was caught by a parishioner stealing cash. The ensuing investigation reveals that Ahmed is believed to have stolen between $720,000 and $960,000.

Read the story here and here.

Update (4/6/10): Ahmed, now 48, was formally charged last week with grand theft by embezzlement and grand theft of personal property in connection with the alleged misappropriation of as much as $960,000 from Calvary Chapel Chino Hills. The thefts allegedly occurred over a nearly four year period between January 2006 and December 2009.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Missouri Man, In-house Vendor To Bass Pro Shop, Arrested In Nearly $1/2 Million Embezzlement Scheme

Eugene Lee Black, 52, of Pleasant Hope, Missouri, described as an independent vendor with a concession business inside Bass Pro Shop's main location in Springfield, has been arrested for allegedly operating an embezzlement scheme that bilked the company out of at least $457,750.82. Black is alleged to have inflated the cost of goods sold from his concession, known as The Little Glass Shack, at Bass Pro cash registers, causing the company to reimburse him for significantly more than the items were worth. Authorities believe Black's scheme dates back to 2002 and lasted until this year. Black reportedly confessed to the thefts, claiming he did it because he was having financial difficulties. Black's business has been operating within Bass Pro Shop for 20 years.

Read the story here, here and here.

Oklahoma Tax Preparer Charged With Embezzling $155K From Clients

Gail Sue Tucker, 45, of Newcastle, Oklahoma, was charged today with embezzling more than $155,000 from three of her clients, who had entrusted her with funds to pay their tax liabilities. Authorities allege Tucker, who runs EZ Bookkeeping and Tax Service, a tax preparation business from her home, is charged with three felony embezzlement counts. She is also charged with altering a US Treasury check. Authorities allege the total amount embezzled is $155,280.

Read the story here and here.

Former Vermont Dental Office Employee Sentenced For Embezzling $120K

Valerie Mason, 37, of Wolcott, Vermont, was sentenced yesterday to six months in prison, plus restitution, for embezzling more than $120,000 from the dental office of Gary Morris, where she had been employed. Authorities alleged that over a 2 1/2 year period beginning in August 2006, Mason wrote 128 unauthorized checks totaling $120,777 from the dentist business accounts for her own benefit. She was originally arrested for the thefts and charged last June.

Read the story here and here.

Embezzlement Estimate By Former Washington State County Treasurer Cashier At More Than $600K And Could Be Nearly $800K

Catherine A. Betts, currently of Shelton, Washington, is now believed to have embezzled at least $617,467 over a five year period from the Clallam County Treasurer's Office where she had been employed as cashier, according to a state investigator's report released Tuesday. Betts, who was in charge of processing real estate excise taxes, preparing daily cash reconciliations, deposits and tax affidavits and monthly reports of taxes collected, is accused of stealing cash payments as well as destroying or altering documents to reflect lower amounts and pocketing the difference. Discrepancies in the records were found last May and Betts was fired in June, according to reports. Investigators, who believe Betts' thefts stretch back to February 2004, say the loss may actually be as much as $793,595 which could not be confirmed due to missing records. The investigator's report is now expected to lead to Betts' imminent arrest. Reports suggest Betts had a gambling habit.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (3/17/10): Betts was formally charged today by the state Attorney General's office with felony theft.

Read the story here.

Update (8/25/11): Betts has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for embezzling as much as $794,000 from Clallam County Treasurer's Office.  She was found guilty last month on 27 theft counts.

Update: Former South Dakota School Manager Pleads Guilty In $277K Embezzlement Case

Jamie Lee Beisch, 34, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, pleaded guilty yesterday to charges he embezzled $277,368 from the McLaughlin School District, where he had been employed as business manager. According to the indictment filed last October, Beisch embezzled the funds between 2007 and 2009. wherein he allegedly wrote himself fraudulent payroll checks. Beisch is due to be sentenced in May, when he faces up to 10 years in prison.

Read FraudTalk's original post on this story here.

Read the story here.

Update (6/23/10): Beisch was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for embezzling more than $277,000 from the McLaughlin School District where he had been employed as business manager.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Former South Carolina Bank Employee Charged With Embezzling $124K

Antoinette Bolden Hill, 32, of Sumpter, South Carolina, was indicted on charges she embezzled $123,858 from First Reliance Bank in Florence where she had been employed. Prosecutors allege Hill stole the money over more than a 3 year period between June 2005 and October 2008. Specifically, Hill was charged with two felony counts including embezzlement by a bank employee and bank fraud. Specific details of the fraud have not yet been released.

Read the story here.

Michigan Woman Charged With Embezzling $100+K From Church

Jacalyn Renee O'Boyle, 48, of Port Huron, Michigan, was charged earlier this month with embezzling more than $100,000 from the St. Edward On-the-Lake Catholic Church where she had been employed as church secretary for some 15 years. Prosecutors allege that O'Boyle's thefts began at least as far back as January 1, 2003. An audit of the church's books revealed the missing money last July and authorities began investigating in December. O'Boyle turned herself in on February 9th. Authorities have not released information detailing O'Boyle's apparent method of embezzlement at this time.

Read the story here and here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Former Michigan Bank Employee Charged In $950K Embezzlement Scheme

Amanda Renee Burns, 27, of Lansing, Michigan, was charged today with embezzling some $950,000 from the Rockford branch of Fifth Third Bank, where she had been employed as a customer service manager. Prosecutors allege that over a five year period beginning in March 2004 until May 2005, Burns simply took cash from the bank's vault or ATM machines - as much as $10,000 a time. She is also alleged to have attempted to cover up her thefts by falsifying bank records and manipulating bank audits. She reportedly used the stolen funds "for her own personal benefit."

Read the story here and here.

Update (8/10/10): Burns pleaded guilty last March to embezzling nearly $1 million from Fifth Thrid Bank. She was sentenced to 41 months in prison. She has repaid about $65,000 in restitution, but still owes $855,171. According to reports, Burns, the mother of three, had a tough upbringing.

Read the updated story here.

Update: Former Pennsylvnia Bank Exec Charged In $4.4 Million Embezzlement Scheme

Roberta L. Stutzman, 62, of Boyertown, Pennsylvania, was charged today with embezzling $4,414,538 from National Penn Bank where she had been employed as vice president of loan operations. According to prosecutors, Stutzman created lines of credit using fictitious names and electronically transferred bank monies into accounts she and her relatives controlled. Specifically, she has been charged with one count each of bank fraud, embezzlement by a bank employee and filing a false tax return for the year 2007. Stutzman reportedly spent much of the stolen funds on vehicles, real estate and other personal luxuries. In December 2008, the bank terminated Stutzman after irregularities in her bookkeeping were discovered and filed a civil suit against her in an effort to recover the misappropriated funds. National Penn's civil suit also names her husband, Dennis K. Stutzman, 63; and sons Matthew K. Stutzman, 35 and David K. Stutzman, 38, all of Boyertown, as co-conspirators in the scheme. However, only Roberta Stutzman has been charged criminally at this time. She had reportedly been an employee of the bank since 1981. Stutzman's scheme follows another major embezzlement by a former executive of the bank, Edward G. Mawhinney, who embezzled $6.1 million between 1998 and 2004. Mawhiney was sentenced to 45 months in prison, plus restitution.

Read FraudTalk's original post on this story here.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (7/15/10): Stutzman, now 63, was sentenced to 75 months in prison. Read the updated story here.

Former Massachusetts Construction Exec Charged In $3 Million Embezzlement Scheme

George Papadopoulos, 48, of Medford, Massachusetts, was charged today with operating an elaborate scheme to embezzle $3 million from URS Corp., a global construction management company, where he had served as a vice president. According to prosecutors, from 2004 to 2008, Papadopoulos fraudulently billed millions in expenses to the company to pay for a lavish lifestyle and more than half a million dollars in home improvements. The complaint alleges he submitted more than 250 fraudulent expense reports to his employer for reimbursement. Specifically, Papadopoulos was charged with four counts of larceny over $250 and procurement fraud. Following his termination from URS last year, Papadopoulos was hired by STV Corp. in White Plains, New York and was reimbursed to relocate there. Prosecutors allege he submitted two fraudulent expense reports to STV for relocation expenses.

Read the story here and here.

Massachusetts Man Charged With Embezzling $1 Million From Hospital

Richard P. Webb, 42, of Boston, Massachusetts, was charged today with embezzling more than $1 million from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center where he had been employed as a manager in their ear, nose and throat department. According to authorities, from January 2006 through April 2009, Webb misappropriated monies from 170 patients and several vendors, depositing their checks into his own bank account. He also is alleged to have obtained fraudulent refunds for hearing aids and other items. The total amount alleged to have been misappropriated is $1,054,712. Webb has reportedly agreed to plead guilty and faces up to 10 years in prison, plus restitution and a fine of as much as $2.1 million.

Read the story here, here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Update (3.3.10): Webb pleaded guilty today and is scheduled for sentencing on June 9, 2010. He is expected to get 42 months in prison, plus restitution.

Update (3.10.10): Webb was sentenced yesterday to 3 1/2 years in federal prison and ordered to pay full restitution of more than $1 million.

Florida Forensic Accountant Surrenders To Authorities Pending $2.5 Million Embezzlement Charge

Lewis "Lew" B. Freeman, 60, of Coconut Grove, Florida, surrendered to federal authorities today pending charges he embezzled more than $2.5 million from client trust accounts he managed. Freeman is a longtime and well known attorney and accountant who, through his firm, Lewis B. Freeman & Partners, specialized in serving as a court-appointed receiver working to recover assets in fraud and bankruptcy cases. Prosecutors allege that Freeman wrote 162 unauthorized checks to himself from five client accounts totaling about $6 million, but put about half of the money back. He also is accused of filing false statements with the courts to cover up his thefts. Two other employees are expected to be charged in the case. Authorities have also alleged that as many as 250 clients were bilked over a ten year period by Freeman, who often shifted funds from one trust account to another to cover the thefts, in a Ponzi-type fraud scheme. The FBI raided Freeman's office last October and he has since closed down his 30-man firm. Ironically, Freeman was quoted frequently in the press following the Bernard L. Madoff scandal that broke in December 2008.

Read the story here, here and here.

Not good when the supposed good guy turns bad...
Update (3/10/10): Freeman pleaded guilty today to mail fraud conspiracy. He faces up to 20 years in prison upon sentencing which is scheduled for May 19th.
Update (7/23/10): Freeman was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison.

Former Nebraska Restaurant Manager Sentenced For Embezzling $154K

Cynthia J. Jameson, 42, of Bellevue, Nebraska, was sentenced to one year and a day in prison for embezzling $154,081.72 from Joe Tess Place, a local seafood restaurant, where she had been employed as office manager for 23 years. According to prosecutors, from March 2006 through March 2007, Jameson wrote checks from the company’s account to pay her personal credit card bills. She allegedly attempted to cover up the thefts by falsifying ledger entries. Jameson, who was also ordered to pay full restitution, reportedly blamed her actions in part on a gambling habit. She was originally charged with two counts of mail fraud last May.

Read the story here and here.

Update: Texas Woman Sentenced In $3.6 Million Embezzlement Case

Diana E. Simon, 50, of Sugar Land, Texas, was sentenced yesterday to 5 years in prison for embezzling more than $3.6 million from Kaneka Texas, a chemical company and a subsidiary of Kaneka Japan, based in Pasadena, Texas, where she had been employed as an accounting supervisor. According to prosecutors, Simon's scheme was perpetrated between June 2006 and February 2008, wherein she manipulated vendor invoices and caused $3,621,220 to be transferred into her own personal bank account. Simon reportedly used the embezzled money to buy a luxury home, luxury vehicles, jewelry and financed multiple gambling trips to Louisiana and Las Vegas. She was originally indicted last September and plead guilty shortly thereafter. Simon was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $3,621,220.

Read FraudTalk's original post on this story here.

Read the story here and here.

Montana Lawyer Sentenced For Embezzling $100K From Motorcycle Club

Dal Smilie, 62, of Helena, Montana, was sentenced yesterday to 8 months in prison for embezzling more than $100,000 from the Ohio-based American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), for which he had previously served as chairman. Smilie is also the former chief attorney for the Montana Department of Administration. According to prosecutors, Smilie made fraudulent travel expense reimbursements with the association and pleaded guilty to felony counts of grand theft by deception and of receiving stolen property. Smilie's scheme lasted nearly 5 years, between January 2003 and December 2007, according to reports. He was originally charged last June. Smilie apologized at his sentencing and is quoted as saying, "I've got much to apologize for, and many people to apologize to, including AMA members, AMA staff, my fellow board members and volunteers. I've let them down."

Read the story here, here and here.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Massachusetts Woman Pleads Guilty In $400K Kickback Scheme

Carolyn Kravetz, 43, formerly of Brookline, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to eight felony counts, including mail fraud and subscribing false tax returns in connection with a kickback scheme that defrauded Dunkin' Brands, Inc. out of $396,875. Prosecutors alleged that Kravetz, former Director of External Communications for Dunkin' Brands, used her position to approve at least 6 fraudulent payments to Luminophore Inc., a company owned by her longtime friend, Boris Levitin, 44, of Brighton, Mass, who is also a co-defendant in this case. Between September 2004 and November 2005, Kravetz allegedly received half the funds in a kickback arrangement with Levitin, according to the indictment. Kravetz is scheduled to be sentenced on June 2nd and faces up to 20 years in jail for each count of fraud and three years for each count of filing a false tax return, plus fines and restitution. Kravetz and Levitin have reportedly known each other since their Boston University days in the 1980s.

Read the story here, here and here.

Bernard Kerik, Former NYC Police Commissioner, Sentenced To 48 Months For Frauds

Bernard B. Kerik, 54, of New York City, was sentenced last week to 4 years in prison following his guilty plea on 8 felony counts last November, including one count of obstructing and impeding the due administration of the internal revenue laws, one count of aiding in the preparation of a false tax return, one count of making a false statement on a loan application, and five counts of making false statements to the federal government. Kerik must also pay restitution in the amount of $187,931. Kerik was originally indicted in 2007 following revelations from his 2003 White House vetting for the position of Secretary of Homeland Security.

Read the story here, here, here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Former Benefits Manager For New York Union Charged With Embezzling $42 Million

Melissa G. King, 58, of Irvington, New York, has been arrested and charged with embezzling at least $42 million from the Sandhogs’ Union Local 147 in New York City where she had been employed as employee benefits fund administrator. Specifically, King has been charged with one count of theft and embezzlement in connection with employee benefit plans, and 11 counts of money laundering. King's scheme reportedly lasted for six years, between 2002 and 2008. King's alleged thefts reportedly went to pay for numerous luxury items and personal expenses, including: $7 million paid to American Express; $5 million to pay for horses and horse-related expenses; $500,000 paid to Neiman Marcus, primarily for women’s clothes; nearly $1 million to Lugano Diamonds in Newport Beach, California, for jewelry and watches; over $150,000 to the Ritz Carlton in Palm Beach; over $9000 to pay the mortgage on her Irvington home; hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for three housekeepers, a tutor for her children, and payments to her parents and others; nearly $100,000 for approximately 13 hours of flight time on a private jet; over $300,000 to purchase a 2005 Porsche Cayenne, a 2008 Mercedes-Benz S Class, a 2008 Mercedes-Benz CLK, and a 2008 Range Rover; and over $11 million to other bank accounts held by her benefits management company, King Care, LLC. King was removed from her position in December 2008 and a civil suit was filed against her in June 2009. Her arrest was made on November 30, 2009. Until recently, the case has not received much media attention. King faces up to 115 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Read the story here, here, here, here and here.
Read the indictment here.

Wow. I didn't think it was possible to beat the Koss embezzlement, but this one does.

Update (6/21/12): King, now 61, pleaded guilty last year to filing false tax returns and admitting she embezzled about $7 million, was sentenced to just 6 years in prison. 

Wife Of Ohio County Sheriff Awaits Sentencing In $251K Embzzlement Case

Kathy L. Beutler, 47, of Lima, Ohio and the wife of Putnam County Sheriff James R. Beutler, is awaiting sentencing for embezzling $251,000 from the Ohio Farmers Union where she had been employed as secretary-treasurer of the non-profit family farm advocacy group. Beutler pleaded guilty on September 23, 2009, to a bill of information charging her with aggravated theft. Prosecutors alleged that Beutler made at least 86 unauthorized direct deposit transfers of funds from the organization's payroll account to her personal checking account over a four year period from April 2005 and May 2009. Beutler's sentencing has been twice postponed and is now scheduled for May 25th. She has blamed her thefts on credit card debts she racked up. Sheriff James Beutler has not been accused in the matter. Unsubstantiated reports allege that Kathy Beutler may have embezzled from two prior employers.

Read the story here, here and here.
Update (11/8/10): Ohio Farmers Union has filed a civil suit against Kathy L. Beutler, her husband, James R. Beutler and others, including the company's accountants, in an effort to recover losses sustained as a result of Kathy Beutler's admitted embezzlement of what is now believed to be at least $350,000. Authorities believe she used company funds to pay personal credit card bills for personal expenses, including vacations and her daughter's weddings.

Wisconsin Man Arraigned For Allegedly Embezzling $100+K

Michael N. Wagner, 43, of Horic0n, Wisconsin, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment hearing Friday to charges he embezzled more than $100,000 from Rinderle Tire where he had been employed as a manager. Specifically, Wagner was charged with one count of theft from a business setting and 17 counts of forgery. Prosecutors allege that Wagner's scheme lasted 11 years, from 1998 to 2009, wherein he stole cash and deposited checks into his personal checking account totaling $100,284.

Read the story here.

New Mexico Company Alleges "Massive" Embezzlement By Several Managers

Sundance Services, Inc., an oilfield waste disposal company based in Eunice, New Mexico, has filed a lawsuit in federal court against three former managers alleging that they conspired to misappropriate ""tens of millions of dollars" in company profits and assets for their own benefit. The suit alleges that Donna Roach, assistant to the company president, and secretary, Kelly Roach, manager of operations and director, and Michael Patterson, plant manager and sales director, perpetrated the embezzlement. The complaint claims the thefts occurred over a period of at least 7 years, from 2001 - 2008. According to reports, the former managers, led by Donna Roach, ran the company for its absentee owner since 1998. The complaint alleges that the defendants spent company assets on the purchase of real estate in three states, the purchase of at least two businesses and dozens of payments on personal credit cards. It also alleges the three made unauthorized wire transfers, electronic banking transactions, online banking, credit card transactions and ATM withdrawals to steer company monies for their own benefit, including to pay their utility bills, auto loans and mortgages, among other personal expenses. A dozen other defendants were named as beneficiaries of the former managers' embezzlement scheme.

Read the story here, here and here.

Read the complaint here.

Former CFO Of Upstate New York Nursing Home Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $163K

Rhonda Skiver, 32, of the Village of Cattaraugus, New York, pleaded guilty Friday to embezzling more than $163,000 from the Absolut Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, formerly known as The Waters of Orchard Park nursing home, where she had served as chief financial officer. Prosecutors alleged that between December 2005 and April 2009, Skiver misappropriated funds from the nursing home. She reportedly did so to pay off gambling debts and divorce-related expenses. Specifically, Skiver pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree grand larceny. She had been employed by the nursing home for 10 years and was fired after discrepancies were found with the company's petty cash. Skiver is scheduled to be sentenced on May 17th and faces up to 15 years in prison, plus fines and restitution.

Read the story here, here and here.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Former Maryland Attorney Sentenced To 99 Years For Defrauding Investors Out Of $10 Million In Ponzi Scheme

Edward Simms Digges Jr., 63, formerly of La Plata, Maryland, was sentenced to 99 years in prison for defrauding approximately 278 investors out of at least $10 million. Digges scheme involved the fraudulent sale and leaseback of point-of-sale terminals for credit and debit cards. Instead, prosecutors alleged that Digges spent investment funds on personal items, including a boat, a jaguar vehicle and a vacation home. His scheme, which operated during 2003, reportedly targeted seniors. Digges pleaded guilty to mail fraud for overbilling a client in 1990 and received a 30-month sentence and $1 million fine. He was also disbarred from practicing law in Maryland.

Read the story here and here.

Read the SEC's original announcement here.

California Man Pleads Guilty To Defrauding Investors Out Of $1 Million In Ponzi Scheme

Jon Weldon James, 33, of Long Beach, California, pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges in connection with a Ponzi-type investment fraud scheme that defrauded some 50 investors out of at least $11 million. Prosecutors alleged that between late 2003 and August 2006, James lured investors into fraudulent real estate investments; instead paying for personal expenses and earlier investors. James reportedly used his companies, J.W. James and Associates, Inc., and The Cloaking Device, Inc. as the fraudulent investment vehicles. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 24 and faces up to 20 years in prison, plus fines and restitution.

Read the story here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Missouri Man Sentenced For Embezzling $510K From Nuns

Paul Steven Murphy, 44, of St. Louis, Missouri, was sentenced to 46 months in prison Wednesday for embezzling more than $500,000 from the School Sisters of Notre Dame where he had been employed as head of information technology. According to prosecutors, from 2000 to 2007, Murphy submitted more than $510,000 in phony invoices to the school. He pleaded guilty last November on one count each of mail fraud and tax evasion. Murphy reportedly spent the loot to finance a lavish lifestyle, including luxury vacations, his wedding, jewelry and other personal items. Murphy owes $112,330 in back taxes to the IRS for the stolen income he did not report. He also owes restitution in the amount of $510,000. The School Sisters of Notre Dame, a religious and charitable teaching and missionary organization, is facing financial shortfalls as a result of Murphy's actions.

Read the story here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Update: Former Oregon Bookkeeper Sentenced In $1.5 Million Embezzlement Case

Victoria Marie Monfore, 48, of Springfield, Oregon, was sentenced yesterday to 23 1/2 years in prison for embezzling some $1.5 million from IP/Koke Printing where she had been employed for 16 years as an accounts payable clerk. Monfore's embezzlement scheme reportedly lasted from August 2003 until June 2009 whereby she forged company checks and made them payable to herself. Her thefts reportedly caused the business to closed down, resulting in the loss of 74 jobs. She blamed her actions on a gambling addiction. She was originally charged with 58 felony counts of aggravated first-degree theft, 18 counts of aggravated identity theft and a 12 counts of first-degree theft.

Read FraudTalk's original post on this story here.
Read the story here.

Nevada Woman Sought In $100+K Suspected Embezzlement Case

Sandra Kay Hunter, 60, of Carson City, Nevada, is currently being sought by authorities who have issued a felony warrant for her arrest for allegedly embezzling more than $100,000 from her unnamed employer. Hunter is described as female, Caucasian, approximately 5-foot, 9 inches tall, approximately 175 pounds, heavy build, brown eyes and shoulder-length dark brown hair (see photograph above). Authorities are asking the public for assistance in locating Hunter and have offered a $250 reward for information leading to her arrest. Anyone with any information regarding the possible whereabouts of Hunter is urged to call sheriff's investigator Greg Rooney at (775) 782-9926, or the Douglas County Secret Witness line at (775) 78-CRIME (782-7463), or the the Douglas County dispatch center at (775) 782-5126.

Read the story here and here.

Update (3/19/10): Sandra Kay Hunter was arrested yesterday by U.S. Marshals in Tacoma, Washington. She is accused of embezzling some $100,000 from her employer, now identified as Property Management & Maintenance in Minden, Nevada. Hunter was employed as a receptionist and she handled rent payments that were mailed into the office. According to reports, Hunter is believed to have misappropriated a total of $99,358.78. Hunter has a prior criminal conviction for embezzling $44,000 from a local title company.

Update (3/23/10): Hunter was extradited back to Nevada yesterday to face charges against her.

Update (8//25/10): Hunter pleaded guilty to charges she embezzled nearly $100,000 from Property Management & Maintenance Company. She must pay restitution of $99,359 as part of the plea agreement. According to media reports, Hunter's thefts spanned nearly 2 years, between April 2008 and December 2009.

Update (10/23/10): Hunter was sentenced to one year in prison.

Former Massachusetts Bank Teller Pleads Guilty To $330K Misappropriation

Jeffrey C. Gautreaux, 26, of Peabody, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty last week to charges of bank fraud and identity fraud in connection with the misappropriation of more than $330,000 from Bank of America, where he had been employed as a teller. Specifically, Gautreaux plead guilty to 17 counts of bank fraud and one count of identity fraud for an embezzlement scheme that lasted from November 2004 until February 2006. Gautreaux made unauthorized withdrawals from customer accounts using customer data. A customer complaint led to an internal investigation resulting in the criminal charges against Gautreaux. He was originally charged last June and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 1, 2010.

Read the story here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Hat tip: Reader Joe

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Audit Finds $278K Embezzlement From Michigan Municipality

An audit of Stevensville Village, Michigan, has revealed an embezzlement scheme that cost the municipality $277,647. Authorities have not identified a suspect in the embezzlement at this time, but the audit refers to the Village Council failing to oversee its "former village manager." The former village manager is identified as Todd Allen Gardner, 49. Law enforcement officials are currently investigating the circumstances. The scheme is believed to have gone on since approximately December 2006. The audit revealed a "lack of checks and balances" in the way the municipality's finances were handled. Fund transfers were revealed from that showed monies moved into the Village's building account and then from there to Gardner's personal accounts, according to reports. Gardner also allegedly issued himself extra paychecks and paid for personal expenses directly with Village funds. According to authorities, Gardner used teh funds to pay for personal expenses, such as mortgage payments and utilities, as well as to take vacations and buy himself a car.

Read the story here and here.

Update: Gardner was found guilty by a jury of embezzling nearly $300,000 from the Village of Stevensville in July 2010. He was sentenced to 52 months in prison, which is scheduled to begin in March 2011. He must also pay full restitution. Gardner is appealing the case.

Read a more detailed story here.

Read about Gardner's conviction here.

Idaho Woman Charged With Embezzling At Least $400K

Kimberly A. Lords, 44, of Bonneville County, Idaho, was arrested yesterday and charged with embezzling at least $400,000 from Golden West Irrigation, where she had been employed as a secretary and bookkeeper. Authorities have charged Lords with grand theft by embezzlement and forgery. Lords is suspected of having forged more than 370 company checks totalling $378,000 since June 2005 for her own benefit. Authorities believe the total amount stolen will exceed $400,000.

Read the story here and here.

Former Pennsylvania Municipal Finance Worker Arrested For Embezzling More Than $100K

Heather Nicole Nolan, 31, of Altoona, Pennsylvania, was arrested yesterday for allegedly embezzling more than $100,000 from the municipality of Hollidaysburg Borough, where she had been employed in their finance office. A state audit showed that some $103,000 missing from January 2004 and last July. Specifically, Nolan has been charged with six counts each of theft by unlawful taking or disposition, theft by failure to make required disposition of funds received and misapplication of entrusted property. Details on how the misappropriation occurred have not been released.


Read the story here, here and here.

Former Oklahoma Mayor To Face Trial For Embezzling Nearly $230K

Jewell Marie Horne, 77, the former Mayor of Webbers Falls, Oklahoma, must face trial for allegedly embezzling $229,460 from the municipality. She has been charged with 15 counts of embezzlement by a public official. Prosecutors allege that Horne received excess unauthorized salary and compensation beginning in 1995 until 2006. Eight former and current Webbers Falls town trustees have also been ordered to face trial on similar embezzlement counts. These include (with misappropriation amounts in parenthesis) current trustees, Henry "Sonny" Tipken, ($14,319), and Loren Dwyer, ($3,730); and former Trustees Johnny Pollard, ($97,931), Stanley Cowan, ($42,950), Larry Chappell, ($35,546), Richard Cude, ($35,076), Matt Myers, ($31,847), and Dennis Berton, ($3,300).

Read the story here and here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Former Paralegal, Convicted Of Embezzling $1.7 Million From Law Firm Now Charged With Embezzling Again

Patricia Baddeley Meehan, 44, of Ellington, Connecticut, was sentenced to 46 months in prison for embezzling some $1.7 million from the law firm of Berman & Russo in South Windsor where she had been employed as a paralegal. According to prosecutors, Meehan's embezzlement scheme lasted 4 years, from August 2003 to May 2007. In October 2008, she had plead guilty to two counts of mail fraud and one count of filing a false tax return. Prosecutors had alleged that Meehan, who handled real estate closings for the firm, wrote 77 checks to herself from a client funds account. According to reports, Meehan's thefts paid for a gambling habit and to personal luxuries and personal credit card bills.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (3/9/2015): Convicted Embezzler Will Face State Larceny Charges

From the Hartford Courant on 3/9/2015:

An Ellington woman who served 40 months in federal prison for stealing $1.7 million from a South Windsor law firm will now face state charges that she stole from three other businesses where she worked.
Patricia Meehan, 49, pleaded not guilty in all three cases and asked for a jury trial during an appearance Monday in Superior Court in Manchester. She is accused of stealing from two dress shops and a hair salon, all in Glastonbury.

Two of the cases, which date from before Meehan, 49, went to federal prison, were returned to the docket for prosecution on Monday. Her lawyer at the time had successfully argued to have her admitted to a pretrial diversionary program for people whose crimes are related to a mental illness. Had she successfully completed a period of probation that ended next month, the charges would have been dismissed.
But Meehan's latest arrest, on Jan. 2, prompted prosecutors to seek to have the charges brought back onto the criminal docket for prosecution. In the new case, Glastonbury police charged Meehan with stealing money from the Image Company Hair Salon, where she worked as a receptionist from September 2013 until her termination on Sept. 29, 2014.

The other two cases date from 2009, before Meehan, who is also known as Patricia Baddeley Meehan, went to federal prison. While pleading guilty and awaiting sentencing for stealing from the Berman and Russo law firm, Meehan was charged with stealing more than $40,000 worth of clothing from two clothing stores, Jeri James and White House Black Market.

The two older cases were restored to the docket by agreement between Meehan's lawyer, Hubert J. Santos, and prosecutors Jaclyn Preville and Anthony Spinella. Prosecutors agreed not to argue for an increase in her bail that could have immediately incarcerated her.

Meehan is already under house arrest. A federal judge last month ordered she be confined to her home and be electronically monitored as the state cases proceed. The federal government is awaiting the results of the state prosecution before acting on a charge that Meehan violated the terms of her federal supervised release.

Federal prosecutors have also indicated they have evidence Meehan gambled at Foxwoods in 2014, which would be a violation of the terms of her federal probation.

Of the $1.7 million Meehan stole from the law firm, $1.4 million went to cover cash advances taken at various casinos, according to federal prosecutor.

Update: New Mexico School Administrator Pleads Guilty To $3.4 Million Embezzlement Scheme

Kathy Borrego, 51, of Abiquiu, New Mexico, pleaded guilty today to charges she embezzled nearly $3.4 million from Jemez Mountain Schools in Galina, New Mexico, where she had been employed as business manager. Prosecutors had alleged that Borrego wrote at least 538 checks to herself, her boyfriend and her daughter over a seven year period, totalling $3,378,701. Specifically, Borrego pleaded guilty to six counts of embezzlement, one count of improper use of official anthems and four counts of tax evasion. Prosecutors allege that Borrego's scheme lasted at least 7 years. She faces up to 41 years in prison upon sentencing.

Read FraudTalk's original post on this story here.

Read the story and see the video here.
Update (5/12/10): Borrego reportedly committed suicide last weekend, prior to her sentencing which was scheduled for Monday.

North Carolina Woman Charged In $140K Embezzlement Case

Kimberly "Kim" Travis Osborne, 45, of Salisbury, North Carolina, was indicted last week on charges she embezzled $142,414 from attorney James T. Oxendine, with whom she had been employed. According to authorities, Osborne's scheme lasted one year, between January 1, 2007, and January 1, 2008. She has been indicted on felony embezzlement charges.

Read the story here and here.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

California Insurance Agent Arrested For Allegedly Embezzling $400+K In Client Premiums

Albert Ricardo Prince, 53, of Bakersfield, California, was arrested Friday for embezzling more than $400,000 in client premiums from his insurance agency, Prince Insurance Agency. He has pleaded not guilty to 8 felony charges, including embezzlement, perjury, grand theft and other charges. Price's scheme spanned about three and a half years between March 2006 and October 2009. The scam was revealed when the Bakersfield Homeless Center realized that they had purchased a bogus bond from Prince's agency to build a new facility.

Read the story here and here.

Former Idaho Municipal Clerk Sentenced In $170+K Embezzlement Scheme

Joell Thompson, 41, of Bancroft, Idaho and the former Bancroft City Clerk, was sentenced to serve 14 months probation plus community service for embezzling more than $170,000 but less than $200,000 from the municipality. Prosecutors alleged that Thompson's scheme spanned a five year period, beginning in 2004. Thompson reportedly claimed that she took the money to help a family business. She must also make restitution and has reportedly already paid back about $80,000. Thompson was originally charged with 2 felony counts of grand theft last October and pleaded guilty in December.

Read the story here, here and here.

Missouri Woman Indicted For Allegedly Embezzling $573K

Andrea M. Wild, 51, of St. Peters, Missouri, was indicted last week on charges she embezzled $573,388 from an unnamed company, also based in St. Peters, where she had been employed as a secretary. Wild allegedly wrote checks from company accounts to herself and to pay personal vendors, such as her utility bills, home mortgage, credit card bills and car loan payments, among other items. The scheme reportedly lasted about six and a half years from January 1, 2003 until August 2009. She has been indicted on one felony count of mail fraud and faces up to 20 years in prison, plus a $250,000 fine and forfeiture of assets up to $573,338.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (4/21/10): Wild plead guilty Friday to one count of felony mail fraud in connection with the alleged embezzlement of $573,338 from her employer, an unnamed St. Peters-based company.

Update (7/5/10): Wild was sentenced to six months in prison. The victim company was identified as Maryland Heights-based Fred Weber Inc. where she had been employed as an administrative assistant/secretary.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Update: New York Ponzi Schemer Sentenced To 9 Years

Edward T. Stein, 59, of Manhattan, New York, was sentenced to 9 years in prison this week for securities fraud and wire fraud in connection with the defrauding of as much as $45 million from at least 100 investors over a period of more than 10 years. Stein was the head of Roslyn, New York-based Edward T. Stein Associates Ltd. He pleaded guilty last June, admitting that between 1998 and 2009, he fraudulently solicited investors to purchase interests in several funds and partnerships he controlled by falsely assuring them that he would make investments on their behalf with the money they provided. Instead, he used the funds for his own purposes and to pay earlier investors. The SEC took action in April 2009, freezing his assets and charging him with securities fraud.

Read FraudTalk's original post on this story here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Update: Pennsylvania Woman Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $168K From Sewer Authority

Tracy M. Connelly, 39, of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to charges of theft, forgery and unlawful use of a computer in connection with the embezzlement of $167,642.76 from the Conshohocken Sewer Authority where she had been employed as an office manager. According to prosecutors, starting in July 2006, Connelly forged numerous checks and made unauthorized wire transfers from CSA accounts to pay for personal expenses, including gift cards, rent, a car loan and repairs, a vacation rental property and other items. She was arrested in December 2008 after a criminal investigation and following her June 2008 firing from the CSA. Connelly also used a fake company, TMC Enterprise, an entity she created to cash the forged checks. Court records indicate Connelly has two prior arrests for theft; one in 1999 for retail theft and one in 2001 for unlawful taking.

Read FraudTalk's original post on this story here.

Read the story here.

Update (11/8/10): Connelly, now 40, was sentenced to 11½ to 23 months in jail, followed by 19 years’ probation.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Florida Investment Advisor Accused Of Embezzling $25 Million From Reebok Founder Is Arrested

Arnold Mullen, 62, of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, was arrested Wednesday on charges he embezzled approximately $25 million from the private investment firm of Reebok International’s former chief executive, Paul Fireman, known as PFP Associates, and the Paul and Phyllis Fireman Foundation. A civil case filed in January 2009 against Mullen by Fireman alleged that he embezzled the monies over a 20 year period. Mullen was first hired by Fireman in 1985 to manage his assets. In the criminal matter, Mullen has been charged with five felony counts of grand theft. Mullen was released on his own recognizance and is now under house arrest affixed with a GPS monitor.

Read the story here, here and here.
Update (6/29/10): Mullen, now 63, pleaded guilty to five counts of grand theft in a plea agreement, admitting he embezzled $25 million from Paul Fireman's personal investment firm and philanthropic entity. Under the agreement, Mullen was sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ohio Head of Southern Christian Leadership Conference Under Investigation For $569K Embezzlment

The Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the home of Reverend Raleigh Trammell, 72, of Dayton, Ohio and the head of the Dayton branch of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, who is under investigation for allegedly embezzling $569,000 from the organization. Trammell's alleged misappropriation reportedly occurred during his tenure as the organization's national board chairman. Spiver Gordon, 70, of Eutaw, Alabama and the treasurer of the SCLC, is reportedly also under investigation for involvement in the scheme, along with Trammell's daughter, Angela Goodwine. Trammell and Gordon were placed on leave, pending the investigation.

Read the story here and here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Kansas Bookkeeper Pleads Not Guilty To Embezzling $310K

Paula M. Ely, 48, of Inman, Kansas, pleaded not guilty Monday to charges she embezzled some $310,000 from Louie's Service Center, a local truck repair shop, where she had been employed as a bookkeeper. Prosecutors allege that Ely misappropriated the funds between January 2005 and August 2009. Meanwhile, a civil suit has been filed by the owners of Louie's against Ely in an effort to recover the money. The civil case claims that Ely stole a total of $310,048.44. A jury trial is scheduled for April 21st. Ely was reportedly fired in August 2009 after the thefts came to light and arrested in October 2009 on the felony theft charges.

Read the story here and here.

Update (5/8/10): Ely pleaded guilty last week to one count of felony theft and agreed to pay full restitution in the amount of $314,779.66. Sentencing is scheduled for July 6, 2010.

Update (7/7/10): Ely was sentenced to three years probation for embezzling more than $300,000 from Louie's Services Center.

Pretty light sentence, IMHO....

Missouri Bookkeeper Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $760K

Shanna M. Hutchens, 36, of Blue Springs, Missouri, pleaded guilty to bank fraud and money laundering scheme in which she embezzled as much as $760,000 from Richardson Hauling, Inc., of Sugar Creek, Missouri, for which she had been employed as a bookkeeper. According to prosecutors, from December 2004 to October 2008, Hutchens issued company checks to herself and her husband, depositing them into her own accounts. She faces up to 30 years in prison, a $1 million fine, plus restitution.

Read the story here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Hat Tip: Reader Joe.

Update: Former Virginia Claims Manager Now Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $1 Million

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, known as BIF, where she had been employed as a benefits & claims manager. According to prosecutors, Allen fabricated invoices and siphoned benefit payments two companies she formed, named Paratransit Company and Dandridge Design & Construction. In all, Allen made $1 million in fraudulent claims, although the damages to BIF was only $784,000. Allen's embezzlement scheme reportedly lasted approximately three and a half years from July 2006 until late 2009. She faces sentencing on May 14th and was ordered to pay restitution.

Read FraudTalk's original post on this story here.

Read the story here and here.
Update (6/1/10): Iris Allen was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution of nearly $1.3 million.

Michigan Community Health Center Bookkeeper Accused Of $100+K Embezzlement Scheme Over 16 Year Period

Debra Ann Ross, of Washtenaw County, Michigan, has been accused of embezzling more than $100,000 from Washtenaw County and its agencies over a 16 year period. For the past four years, Ross has been employed by Washtenaw County Community Mental Health in an unspecified bookkeeping position. Authorities allege that Ross deposited patient checks into her own personal account.

Read the story here.

Update (3/11/10): Ross waived her right to a preliminary hearing today.

Update (8/14/10): Ross, now 53, who is now believed to have embezzled more than $600,000 from Washtenaw County Community Mental Health, was ordered to pay restitution of $636,000 in order to avoid prison time. She pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement in June. Ross' thefts spanned a 16 year period, according to authorities.

Former Texas Grocery Store Bookkeeper Charged In $681K Embezzlement Scheme

Debra Jones Blaine, 53, of Holliday, Texas, was charged yesterday with embezzling about $681,000 from the King's Food store in Wichita Falls where she had been employed as a bookkeeper. Authorities allege that Blaine, who was responsible for transferring daily sheets to the weekly ledger, altered the amounts and pocketed the difference over a period of nearly 5 years from January 2005 through November 2009. When confronted by the store owner, Blaine reportedly confessed to the thefts.

Read the story here, here and here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Update: South Dakota Woman Sentenced For Embezzling $160K From Volunteer Fire Department

Jennifer Fox, 44, of Rapid City, South Dakota, was sentenced today to 8 years in prison with three years suspended for embezzling more than $150,000 from the Hill City Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Service where she had been employed. Fox, who had pleaded guilty to one count of grand theft by embezzlement last month, was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $159,729. The embezzlement reportedly occurred between January 2005 and February 2008.

Read FraudTalk's original post on this story here.

Read the story here and here.

Former California Exec Sentenced In $832K Embezzlement Case

Milton W. Callan, 60, of Castaic, California, was sentenced to 41 months in prison for misappropriating some $832,000 from Lockheed Federal Credit Union where he had been employed as a vice president. According to prosecutors, Callan opened corporate accounts at various retail stores where he purchased electronics, gift cards, food and furniture for his own personal use. Callan had pleaded guilty last year to one count of embezzlement by a credit union employee. He was also oredered to pay $831,763.91 in restitution.

Read the story here and here.

Former Oregon Bookkeeper Sentenced In $200+K Embezzlement Scheme

Sonya Marie Kyllo, 39, of Silverton, Oregon, was sentenced to 4 years in prison for embezzling more than $200,000 from Heirloom Roses a local business where she had been employed as assistant bookkeeper. According to prosecutors, Kyllo forged company checks and cashed them for her own benefit over a period of about 1 year. Kyllo, who was arrested on charges of aggravated theft, aggravated identity theft and first-degree forgery last September, also allegedly doctored the company books in an attempt to hide her misappropriations.

Read the story here and here.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Former Idaho DMV Worker Sentenced For Embezzling More Than $400K

Catherine R. Benoit, 58, of Caldwell, Idaho, was sentenced to 3 to 17 years in prison for embezzling more than $400,000 from the Canyon County Division of Motor Vehicles where she had been employed as a supervisor. Last October, Benoit pleaded guilty to two counts of grand theft for stealing $403,000 from the agency over a period of about 9 years, between 2001 and 2009. According to prosecutors, Beniot's scheme involved recording that DMV customers lost their vehicle license stickers in the mail and had not paid for their registrations, pocketing the money. Benoit, who had been employed by the agency for some 28 years, was originally charged in April 2009 after she and another supervisor, Shawna Maggard, allegedly confessed to the thefts.

Read the story here, here and here.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Former New Jersey Restaurant Executive Pleads Guilty In $1 Million Kickback Scheme

Russell D'Anton, 49, of Manasquan, New Jersey, pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and tax evasion charges wherein he partook in a kickback scheme involving vendors with Charlie Brown's Steakhouse restaurant chain for which he had served as president and CEO. D'Anton admitted that, between 1998 and 2008, he and Michael Mulligan, 51, of West Milford, New Jersey, a former company vice president, rewarded contracts for Charlie Brown's to companies that agreed to give kickbacks. In total, those payments amounted to more than $1 million in cash, appliances, Broadway tickets, luxury trips and other personal items. Mulligan had previously plead guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and tax evasion. D'Anton faces up to 25 years in prison and $500,000 in fines upon his sentencing, which is scheduled for May 17, 2010.

Read the story here and here.

California Man Arrested For Running $12 Million Ponzi Scheme

Peter Jerald Frommer, 34, formerly of Malibu, California, was arrested Friday for allegedly running a Ponzi-type investment fraud scheme that bilked investors out of $12 million. Specifically, Frommer was indicted on two counts of mail fraud, seven counts of wire fraud, five counts of money laundering and three counts of of failing to file federal income tax returns for the years 2004 - 2006. Prosecutors alleged that Frommer, through a bogus investment scheme known as "Cap Exchange" or “Cap X”, purported to trade in surplus property of defunct companies and promised investors “guaranteed” returns of 8 to 15 percent within six weeks. Instead of purchasing the assets as promised, Frommer reportedly used the investment funds to maintain a lavish lifestyle and pay earlier investors. He faces as many as 233 years behind bars if convicted.

Read the story here, here, here and here.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

California Man Free On Bail After Arrest For Allegedly Embezzling $1.8 Million

Richard John Schwalbe, 57, of Mill Valley, California, was released from prison after his bail was reduced after his arrest for embezzling some $1.8 million from Solectron Corp. where he had been employed as global credit manager. According to prosecutors, Schwalbe allegedly set up a fictitious business with a Mill Valley banking account in which he deposited the funds. He was arrested and charged with felony embezzlement, theft, forgery, and embezzlement of property by a public officer. Schwalbe left Solectron in 2007 after it was acquired by Flextronics, according to reports.

Read the story here and here.

Update (6/26/11): Schwalbe accepted a plea agreement settling both his civil and criminal cases by pleading no contest to two counts of grand theft and will serve 32 months in prison. 

Update (8/16/11): Schwalbe was sentenced to 32 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution.

Update: California State Bar Worker Sentenced For $615K Embezzlement Scheme

Sharon Elyce Pearl, 51, of Oakland, California, was sentenced to 32 months in prison for embezzling $615,790 over an 8 year period from the State Bar of California, where she had been employed. She was also ordered to pay $615,000 in restitution, plus $116,000 in back taxes and $167,000 in investigative and legal costs. According to prosecutors, Pearl had instructed tenants of the State Bar building in San Francisco to write checks out to "PLOT - The State Bar of California," which she deposited into an account she controlled. PLOT actually stood for the Piedmont Light Opera Theater where she managed accounts. Pearl used the stolen funds to pay for “spa treatments, designer clothes, lavish meals and fancy hotel rooms," according to the complaint. The scheme was uncovered in 2008, but she was not arrested and charged until March 2009.

Read FraudTalk's original post on this story here.

Read the story here and here.

Arts Patron Sentenced For Bilking Investors Out Of $22 Million

Alberto W. Vilar, 69, of New York and San Francisco, was sentenced to 9 years in prison for defrauding some 1,400 investors out of about $22 million. Vilar was originally arrested in May 2005 on charges that included conspiracy to commit securities fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud and investment fraud. The allegations stem from charges that he misappropriated millions in investment funds entrusted to his firm, Amerindo Investment Advisors Inc. In November 2008, Vilar was convicted on 12 felony counts. Vilar was also ordered to pay $21.9 million in restitution. He was known for large gifts to the arts. A co-defendant, Gary Alan Tanaka, 66, was sentenced to five years in prison for his lesser role in the scheme.

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

Read the story here and here.

Michigan Woman Charged In $170K Nursing Home Embezzlement Scheme

Michaeline Ann Meek, 47, of Westland, Michigan, has been charged with embezzling more than $170,000 from the Westland Convalescent Center where she had been employed in its business office handling accounts payable and other bookkeeping functions. According to prosecutors, Meek, who had been employed by the facility since the 1980s, instructed clients to pay in cash for which she would issue a receipt, then pocketed the cash. The scheme lasted at least a year and a half between March 2008 and August 2009 where she took as much as $20,000 in a single month. In addition to the felony charge of embezzlement of more than $100,000, Meek is expected to be charged with another count of embezzlement of under $100,000 to cover the period of thefts going back to 2005. It is unclear how much she embezzled prior to March 2008. The two counts carry a combined sentenced of 35 years in prison, plus fines and restitution, if convicted. One co-worker was quoted as saying about the case, “I worked 30 years with this person, so you can imagine the devastation. It’s so heart wrenching for myself and my co-workers. We were friends and did things socially as a group.”

Read the story here.

Update (5/16/10): Meek entered no contest pleas last week to felony charges that she embezzled what is now estimated to be $300,000 from Westland Convalescent Center where she had been employed as a bookkeeper.

Friday, February 5, 2010

South Carolina Sheriff's Office Tightening Financial Controls In Wake Of Allegations Administrator Embezzled $500+K

The Oconee County, South Carolina Sheriff's Office is working on developing enhanced business controls in the wake of allegations an administrator embezzled more than half a million from it. According to reports, Kathleen M. Taylor, 43, of Westminster, South Carolina and the former business manager at the sheriff's office, was arrested last November on charges she embezzled $504,500 over a three-year period. Authorities alleged that Taylor stole the funds from three drug fund narcotics accounts controlled by the sheriff's office between January 1, 2006, and November 8, 2009. It appears Taylor was simply able to withdraw funds from the bank without additional authorization. She had been employed as business manager since 2001 and now faces charges of embezzlement of public funds.

Read the story here, here and here.
Update (12/17/10): Taylor pleaded guilty to charges she embezzled more than $500,000 from the Oconee County Sheriff's Office where she had been employed as business manager. She was sentenced to 18 months in prison and must pay full restitution.

Missouri Man & Woman Indicted For $1.8 Million Bank Fraud Scheme

Earnest Ray Schenker, 38, of Brumley, Missouri and Donis Gayle Duncan, 39, of Nevada, Missouri, were indicted on 15 counts of bank fraud alleging they defrauded Farmers State Bank in Schell City, Missouri, in a scheme that bilked the institution out of some $1.8 million over a period of about one year. Duncan was employed as an assistant cashier at the bank where Schenker had maintained his personal accounts. According to the indictment, Duncan agreed to give immediate credit for bad checks Schenker deposited into his account, allowing him to immediately withdraw cash. Duncan reportedly tried to cover up the fraud by holding the bad checks in her desk drawer until Schenker would deposit another check that ostensibly "covered" the bad one. Between February 2003 and March 2004, Schenker deposited and was given immediate credit for more than 75 checks that were returned to Farmers as uncollectable.

Read the story here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Hat tip: reader Joe

Former Louisiana Banker Sentenced To 18 Months For $178K Embezzlement

Jeremy J. Rayburn, 35, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for embezzling $178,225 from the JP Morgan Chase Bank in Metairie where he had been employed. According to prosecutors, Rayburn forged signatures on withdrawal slips to move money from dormant accounts into cashier's checks and then deposited those checks into one dormant account he used as a central repository. From there, he withdrew money via automated teller machines or transferred money by wire to accounts he controlled at other institutions. His scheme lasted from May 1, 2006, through July 26, 2007, according to reports. Rayburn had pleaded guilty to one count of bank larceny last October.

Read the story here, here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Read the DOJ's "Factual Basis" for the case here.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Connecticut Bank Reports It Detected & Halted Embezzlement Involving As Much As $11 Million

Webster Financial Corp., based in Waterbury, Connecticut and the parent of Webster Bank, reported Tuesday that "internal controls had detected and halted an elaborate embezzlement scheme" involving an unnamed subcontractor. According to Webster's announcement, the subcontractor provides "bulk cash processing on behalf of a major vendor of Webster." The bank reported that it had repaid some of the loss and that it had an insurance policy that would cover the rest of its exposure which could be as large as $11 million. It is unclear whether this reported case is related to one revealed last month involving Webster wherein a former Webster Bank employee, her husband and her ex-husband were indicted on federal charges of bilking the bank out of $6.2 million. In that case, Susan A. Curtis, 48, of Naugatuck; her husband, Gary J. Stocking, 43, also of Naugatuck; and Curtis' ex-husband, Kevin W. Caffrey, 45, of Wolcott, were each charged with one count of bank fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

Read the story here and here.

Read the Webster press release here.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mississippi Woman Pleads Guilty To Embezzling Nearly $1 Million From Medical Office

Beverly Morgan, 31, of Collinsville, Mississippi, has pleaded guilty to charges she embezzled nearly $1 million from Urology Clinic of Meridian where she had been employed as office manager. Specifically, Morgan was charged with one count of embezzlement and one count of uttering forgery. Morgan's scheme, which is believed to have lasted about 2 years, involved fraudulent cash transfers, wireless transfers, forged checks, and the unauthorized use of clinic credit cards, according to authorities. Morgan is scheduled to be sentenced on March 26th and faces up to 5 years in prison, plus fines and restitution.

Read the story here.

Update (3/26/10): Morgan was sentenced to 10 years in prison with 6 years suspended.

New Jersey Man & 3 Co-Conspirators Misappropriate $2 Million From School District In Vendor Fraud Scheme

Robert E. Titus, Jr., 52, of Jackson, New Jersey, was arrested along with three other conspirators and charged with bilking more than $2 million from the Bernards School District in Somerset County, New Jersey. According to authorities, Titus, who worked for food-service contractor Aramark Corp., was the ringleader in a scheme whereby inflated contractor invoices were sent to the school district and Titus would pocket the difference. According to media reports, Titus and others are also accused of running a money laundering scheme to hide the kickbacks to Titus, who authorities say used the money to pay gambling debts. Authorities claim the scheme lasted 5 1/2 years. Authorities report that Titus had been employed by Aramark since 1992 and became the on-site manager at Bernards in 1999. He was charged with money laundering, theft by deception and conspiracy. Titus' attorney claims he has a "severe gambling addiction." The other conspirators charged in this case are: John Paris, 60, of Belford, New Jersey; Edward G. Beach, 52, of Toms River, New Jersey; and Gabriel Caponetto, 51, of Howell, New Jersey.

Read the story here, here and here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New York Woman Charged With Embezzling Nearly $150K

Angela J. Berry, 35, of Cobleskill, New York, was arrested and charged today with embezzling some $149,000 from an unnamed Rotterdam-based business where she had been employed. According to authorities, Berry misappropriated the funds by making unauthorized company debit card withdrawals at ATM machines in multiple counties. Specifically, Berry has been charged with felony second-degree grand larceny. Her thefts reportedly started in the summer of 2007 and she took as much as $7,000 cash per month. Research indicates that Berry is a distributor for Sour Lake, Texas-based The Gourmet Cupboard. It is unclear if this is a separate enterprise than the victim company.

Read the story here and here.