Friday, April 30, 2010

Second Person Arrested In $600K Embezzlement Conspiracy In Florida

Marie A. Darnell, 61, of Ocala, Florida, was arrested today for her involvement in a conspiracy scheme to embezzle more than $600,000 from Ocala-based Suncoast Insulators for whom she had been employed as a bookkeeper. According to authorities, Darnell conspired with her then boss, Scott Wrazin, 36, also of Ocala (pictured here), who was arrested earlier this month on embezzlement charges. Wrazin reportedly worked as an accountant and bookkeeper for Suncoast Insulators and was responsible for conducting the company payroll. Prosecutors allege Darnell received $287,000 and Wrazin received nearly $327,000 in ill-gotten gains for a total of $614,000 stolen from the company. Reports suggest that the embezzlement occurred in the latter part of 2009.

Read the story here, here and here.

Virginia Bookkeeper Charged With Embezzling $300K From Orthopedic Practice

Mary Beth Redford, 43, of New Kent, Virginia, has been charged with 15 felony embezzlement counts for allegedly stealing some $300,000 from Advanced Orthopaedics where she had been employed as a bookkeeper / accountant. A trial is set for June 23rd. Authorities allege that Redford stole the funds over a four year period commencing in 2006 shortly after she was hired. Redford is alleged to have created fictitious payments to creditors and then cashed checks written to herself. We note that Redford has a prior history of embezzlement wherein she was sentenced to 10 months in prison in 2003 for embezzling $6,000 from the New Kent Youth Association and in 1999, she received a suspended sentence for stealing $7,000 from a dentist's office, according to reports. She also has a 1988 conviction for embezzlement.

Read the story here and here.
Update (9/21/10): Redford plead guilty yesterday to multiple felony counts for embezzling nearly $300,000 from Advanced Orthopaedics. Sentencing is scheduled for November 10. She is currently free on bond.
Update (11/12/10): Redford, now 44, was sentenced to six years in prison. This was her fourth embezzlement conviction, according to reports.

North Carolina Woman Accused Of Embezzling $365K

Sandra Renee Hubbard, 42, currently of Mooresville, North Carolina and formerly of Davidson, has been charged with one count of felony embezzlement and three counts of credit card fraud in connection with allegedly embezzling $365,000 from Liburdi Dimetrics Corp., where she had been employed in a variety of jobs, including accounts payable. According to authorities, Hubbard's embezzlement scheme, which involved misappropriating funds with company checks and credit cards, spanned at least 2 1/2 years between 2007 and early 2010.

Read the story here and here.

New Yorker Accused In Bankruptcy Filing Of Embezzling At Least $200K

Barbara Morrill, 36, of Altamont, New York, has been accused in bankruptcy filings of embezzling at least $200,000 from Calkins Pharmacy in Cohoes, near Albany. According to the bankruptcy filing, Morrill's "employment was terminated in October of 2009 as a result of the discovery of an alleged embezzlement scheme that she had allegedly perpetrated against the debtor for an as yet undetermined period of time. Based upon the books and records the debtor was able to recreate, the losses total in excess of $200,000.'' Kathleen Manning, owner of the pharmacy is quoted in media reports as saying, "...it appears that hundreds of thousands of dollars (have) been stolen from us over the past fifteen years. Law enforcement authorities are investigating and further details should be forthcoming...

Read the story here and here.

Update (6/8/10): Morrill has been indicted on one count of second degree grand larceny. Sadly, the pharmacy has been forced to file for bankruptcy.

Update: Former Nebraska Ice Rink Manager Accused Of Embezzling $1 Million

Patrick A. Meschede, 48, of West Omaha, Nebraska, has been accused of embezzling nearly $1 million from the Moylan Ice Arena at Tranquility Park where he had been employed since 2004 as manager. According to a civil suit filed by the company against him and his wife Cindy, Meschede issued checks from its checking account to CPC Inc., a business he formed in 2000. He then deposited some of those funds into his personal accounts at American National Bank. Meschede also allegedly wrote checks to third party vendors to pay for personal expenses. He was arrested this past January on three felony counts of theft by deception. Additional charges have been added and he now faces 30 felony fraud counts. The thefts reportedly occurred over a three year period from 2006 - 2009. We note that in 2001, Meschede was sued by a prior employer for allegedly engaging in financial improprieties.

Read FraudTalk's earlier post on this story here.

Read the story here, here and here.

Missouri Man Indicted In $350K Alleged Embezzlement

Anthony J. Schrader, 63, of Wentzville, Missouri has been indicted on charges he allegedly embezzled more than $350,000 from Creech Brothers Truck Brokerage Inc., where he had been employed. According to the indictment, over a two year period, between 2007 and 2009, Schrader created bogus invoices for payment by the company and then converted the checks to money orders payable to himself. Schrader and his wife reportedly were big casino gamblers, putting nearly $1 million into play at the Ameristar Casino during 2009 alone, and losing more than $50,000 between the two of them. Schrader faces up to 20 years in prison for each of the ten wire fraud counts, if convicted, plus fines and restitution.

Read the story here, here, here and here.

Update (11/5/10): Schrader, who pleaded guilty to one felony wire fraud count, was sentenced to 2 years in prison and ordered to pay $524,825 in restitution.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Colorado Hedge Fund Manager Accused Of Operating $100 Million Ponzi Scheme

Sean Michael Mueller, 41, of Greenwood Village, Colorado, has been accused of operating an investment fraud scheme that bilked at least 30 investors out of as much as $100 million. Mueller, who operated Mueller Capital Management LLC, claimed he never lost money in eight years and the company purported to have returns of 12 percent to 25 percent per year. According to reports, the Mueller Over-Under Fund claimed $122 million in assets in December. However, in a handwritten note following his threatened suicide, Mueller referred to bank accounts totaling only $15 million indicating, "This is what is left." Last Thursday Mueller was talked down by police after he threatened to jump to his death from his office building. Mueller has been hospitalized and a judge has placed his company under regulator control.

Read the story here, here, here and here.

Former Bookkeeper From Upstate New York Begins Prison Sentence For $750K Embezzlement From Veterinary Hospital

Deborah L. Newton, 49, of Hamburg, New York, began her 1-3 year prison sentence yesterday for embezzling some $750,000 from a local veterinary hospital where she had been employed as a bookkeeper. Newton pleaded guilty to second-degree grand larceny last November and agreed to pay restitution. She had resigned a year ago after reportedly admitting to the thefts when she was confronted by veterinary staff about bank account irregularities. She had been employed there for more than two decades. Newton has reportedly repaid $150,000 out of the $750,000 she owes in restitution.

Read the story here.

Watch the video here.

Mother & Daughter From Alabama Accused Of Embezzling $400K From Florida-Based Restaurant Franchiser

Katherine M. Holt, 45, and Heather Bottoms, 24, mother and daughter, respectively, both of Hartford, Alabama, have been accused of embezzling some $400,000 from Bonifay, Florida-based Geneva Enterprises, LLC, which operates six Hardee’s restaurants, where they had been employed. According to reports, Holt, former director of operations at Geneva, who has been charged with one count of grand theft in excess of $100,000.00, apparently was siphoning off franchise royalties with the help of Bottoms, who has been charged with six counts of making false entries on the books of a corporation. The embezzlement reportedly occurred over a two year period. Bottoms has surrendered to authorities, but Holt has yet to be located, as of this writing.

Read the story here and here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tennessee Couple Sentenced For Embezzling $1.3 Million

Johnny Haney, 43, and Jennifer Haney, aka Jennifer Stopper, 40, husband and wife, of Old Hickory, Tennessee, were each sentenced to four years in prison for embezzling some $1.3 million from Permobil of America, a Lebanon, Tennessee-based mobile wheelchair manufacturer, where Jennifer Haney had been employed as an accounts payable clerk. According to prosecutors, the Haney's made numerous unauthorized purchases with a company credit card for personal use. They had reportedly plead guilty last December to charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Jennifer Haney had been employed by Permobil for nearly 13 years until December 2007, when she was fired after the defalcations were identified. Johnny Haney reportedly used the company American Express card of one of Permobil's executive's, Charles Combs, for nearly 3 and a half years, from July 2004 until November 2007. They were charged with 9 counts of fraud in March 2009. They were also ordered to pay $1.3 million in restitution.

Read the story here, here, here and here.

Utah Woman Charged With Embezzling Nearly $100K From Defense Contractor

Tammie Bankhead, 46, of Tooele, Utah, has been charged with embezzling nearly $100,000 from the Jacobs Technology division of defense contractor Jacobs Engineering, where she had been employed as a staff accountant and treasurer of its employee morale and welfare program. According to authorities, over more than two and a half years, from March 2006 through October 2008, Bankhead wrote 62 checks from the morale and welfare program’s account to herself, which she cashed or deposited for a total of $82,728. She also allegeldy deposited seven checks made out to the company into her personal account, totaling $9,637. Bankhead was based with Jacobs Technology at Utah's Dugway Proving Ground.

Read the story here.

Former Treasurer Of Volunteer Ambulance Corps In Connecticut Accused Of Embezzling More Than $100K

Frederick Seremet, 59, of Newington, Connecticut, was charged yesterday with embezzling more than $100,000 from the town's volunteer ambulance corps for which he had served as treasurer. According to prosecutors, from early 2005 through late 2008, Seremet allegedly "misdirected" a significant amount of funds from the non-profit organization, in excess of $100,000. The nature of Seremet's misappropriation has not been revealed. However, he has been charged with first-degree larceny and 40 counts of second-degree forgery, suggesting he issued checks to himself or to personal vendors.

Read the story here and here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Nebraska Investment Advisor Pleads Guilty To Defrauding Investors In $6.5 Million Ponzi Scheme

Bryan Scott Behrens, 47, of Omaha, Nebraska, pleaded guilty to securities fraud charges admitting he bilked investors out of at least $3.5 million in a Ponzi-type investment fraud scheme. According to prosecutors, Behrens promised to invest client funds in Nevada real estate, but instead used the money for his businesses in Omaha, paid out money to early investments and used the rest for personal expenses. The SEC charged that from 2002 to 2007, Behrens operated a Ponzi-like investment scheme, raising $6.5 million from investors, including senior citizens, and misappropriating more than $3.5 million of those funds. He promised investors returns of up to 9 percent per year. Behrens was the owner of Bryan Behrens Company, Inc., 21st Century Financial Group and National Investments, Inc., as well as the owner of a local flower shop.

Read the story here.

Read the original complaint here.

Maryland Man Pleads Guilty To Embezzling Nearly $2.8 Million

Ernest Theodore Solo, 60, of Boyds, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to wire fraud charges in connection with the embezzlement of nearly $2.8 million from Chesapeake Petroleum and Supply Inc. where he had been employed for more than 40 years in the finance department, ultimately as chief financial officer. According to authorities, Solo wrote checks to himself as well as took funds the company petty cash over an 8 year period, between 2000 and 2008. He was originally charged with breach of fiduciary duty, misrepresentation of facts, two counts of unjust enrichment and three counts of fraud. The company is also seeking a restraining order against Solo. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

Read the story here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Update (8/17/10): Solo was sentenced to three years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his conviction on wire fraud charges in this case. Solo was also ordered to pay restitution of $2,741,700.

Tennessee Man Indicted For Embezzling More Than $1 Million From Kentucky Business

Norman Frank Moseley, 60, of Martin, Tennessee, has been indicted by a Graves County, Kentucky grand jury for allegedly embezzling more than $1 million from Hutson Inc., where he had been employed for the past 13 years. Specifically, Martin was indicted on 44 felony counts, including 31 counts of theft by deception over $500, six counts of theft by unlawful taking over $500, three counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument and two counts of theft by unlawful taking over $10,000. Martin is also charged with receiving stolen property over $500 and theft by deception over $10,0000. Authorities allege that Moseley would edit purchase orders and give the customer a different copy than the one he would turn in to Hutson’s management, pocketing the difference. Moseley also allegedly kept Hutson customer trade in equipment which he then sold himself, keeping the profit.

Read the story here, here and here.

Former Office Park Manager In Florida Accused Of Embezzling $500K

Shanna M. Lewis, 34, of Tallahassee, Florida is accused of embezzling as much as $650,000 from Innovation Park, a research park in southwest Tallahassee overseen by the Leon County Research and Development Authority, where she had been employed as an office manager. Authority officials believe Lewis forged the signature of the board's chairman on agency checks and deposited into her own accounts. Lewis was fired last Friday and an investigation is ongoing. It should be noted that Lewis was convicted for embezzlement in August 2001, for theft of more than $100,000 from a prior employer. She is now making claims of sexual harassment by another board member.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (5/2/10): Authorities believe that Lewis' thefts go back at least 2 1/2 years. She reportedly had a personal bankruptcy just prior to her being hired to manage Innovation Park, according to reports.

Read an updated and detailed account of the case here.

Read Shanna Lewis' employment file here.
Update (9/16/10): Innovation Park board is considering suing Lewis' husband, Paul Lewis, in an effort to recover some of the nearly $650,000 she embezzled. Lewis plead guilty last June.
Update (11/19/10): Shanna Lewis was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison plus five years of probation. She was also ordered to pay $746,042 in restitution.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Iowa School District Financial Administrator Accused Of Embezzling More Than $500K

Denisa C. Babcock, 36, of Camanche, Iowa, has been accused of embezzling more than $500,000 from the Clinton, Iowa School District, where she had been employed as an accountant and business office supervisor, according to a press release from the school district. The release states, "The district has sustained a loss in excess of its insurance policy limits of $500,000 as a result of misappropriation of funds by former employee, Denise Babcock." How much more is unclear at this point as the case is being investigated by state auditors and law enforcement. Babcock had been employed with the school district since 2004.

Read the story here.

Update (9/27/10): Babcock pleaded not guilty today to charges that she embezzled what is now estimated to be $1.2 million. She was indicted last week and her trial is now scheduled for November 1. Babcock allegedly deposited 177 checks intended for the Clinton School District into her own accounts.

Update (10/13/10): Babcock won a motion to delay her criminal trial on charges she embezzled $1.2 million from the Clinton School District, which is now scheduled for next February.

Update (2/14/11): Babcock is reportedly seeking a plea agreement with prosecutors. Her alleged thefts totaled $1,207,248.32.

Former Finance Officer Of Ohio-Based Pizza Chain Accused Of Embezzling $291K

Vince R. Romito, 44, of Brunswick, Ohio, has been charged with embezzling more than $291,000 from the Zeppe's pizzeria chain where he had been employed as chief financial officer and controller. According to authorities, Romito allegedly forged 166 checks totalling $291,034.35 over a nearly five year period, from July 2004 to April 2009, stamping them with the signature of the company's president and listing them on the books as businesses expenses. Romito, who joined Zeppe's in 2002, is reported to have spent the misappropriated monies on personal bills. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Read the story here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Former Indiana Housing Authority Exec & Political Activist Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $214K

Jennifer Winningham Edwards, 59, now of Rockford, Michigan, pleaded guilty to charges she embezzled nearly $214,000 from the Delaware County Housing Authority (DCHA) in Indiana where she had served as executive director. Edwards is also reportedly a longtime Democrat Party operative and community activist. As part of the plea agreement, Edwards must make full restitution in the amount of $213,936. Edwards headed up the DCHA as well as the Middletown Gardens housing complex from 1997 until last year, when a state audit revealed her alleged scheme. Authorities allege that between May 2004 and November 2008, Edwards prepared bogus invoices that reflected work done for the DCHA by a legitimate firm, then deposited the resulting housing authority checks, totaling $176,790, into her personal bank account. She is further alleged to have received invoices from the companies that renovated and furnished her Mount Pleasant Township home, then altered those invoices to instead reflect the work had been done on DCHA properties, receiving an additional $37,146.

Read the story here.

Update (5/6/10): Edwards was sentenced to 54 months on probation with the first year under house arrest.

Pretty light sentence IMHO...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Idaho Woman Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $270K

Mava J. Terhaar, 52, of Mountain Home, Idaho, pleaded guilty Friday to charges she embezzled some $270,000 in public funds from the Elmore County Department of Motor Vehicles where she had been employed. Specifically, Terhaar plead guilty to one count of embezzling public funds. According to authorities, Terhaar, who had been employed by the agency since October 1987, embezzled funds over at least a 9 year period, ending with her arrest in July 2009. With her guilty plea, Terhaar admitted that she took cash receipts for state license plates or tags, then voided out the listed payments, pocketing the money. She faces up to 14 years in prison, plus fines and restitution upon sentencing, scheduled for June 10th.

Read the story here, here and here.
Update (7/19/10): Terhaar was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

California Woman Accused Of Embezzling $140K

Beverly Joan Winter, 59, of Tustin, California, is scheduled to be arraigned on charges she embezzled $140,000 from Anaheim-based Five Star Water Truck Rental Inc., where she had been employed as an administrator handling company finances. Winter, who was arrested Thursday, is to be charged with charged with 34 felony counts each of forgery and falsifying records. Authorities allege that from June 29, 2005 through July 28, 2008, Winter forged more than 130 company checks and deposited them in her bank account. She faces up to almost 50 years in prison if found guilty on all counts.

Read the story here and here.
Update (6/7/10): Winter pleaded guilty to 34 felony counts of forgery and 34 felony counts of falsifying records, admitting she embezzled $140,000 from Five Star Water Truck Rental Inc. She was sentenced to 1 year in prison plus must pay full restitution.

Former Illinois State Municipal Alderman Sentenced In $229K Misappropriation Case

Thomas M. Faulker, 41, of O'Fallon, Illinois, was sentenced to six months home confinement and three years probation for misappropriating $229,000 from Nestle Purina's Petcare and its subsidiary, Check Mark Communications, where he had been employed as head of marketing. He was also sentenced to perform 200 hours of community service. Faulkner previously had served as an alderman for the municipality of O'Fallon, Illinois. Faulkner had plead guilty last October to one felony count of mail fraud for misusing the company credit card and submitting fraudulent expense reports for cover personal trips to Walt Disney World and college football games. The misappropriations possibly date back as far as 2005 and lasted until June 2009. Thus far he has repaid approximately $100,000 in restitution, according to reports.

Read the story here, here and here.

Read the DOJ announcements in this case here and here.

Pretty light sentence IMHO...

Friday, April 23, 2010

California Ranch Treasurer Charged With Embezzling $1.6 Million

Gary Steven Gross, 61, was indicted yesterday on charges he embezzled some $1.6 million from Niman Ranch in Alameda, California where he had been employed as treasurer. According to authorities, Gross transferred funds from the company's bank accounts to accounts he had set up to launder the funds. Gross reportedly had been employed as treasurer for the ranch for 12 years. Niman Ranch, which sells free-range beef and pork to high-end restaurants and grocery stores, is known for its eco-conscious farming methods.

Read the story here.

Hat tip: Reader Joe.

Virginia Man Sentenced For FCPA Violations

Charles Paul Edward Jumet, 53, of Fluvanna County, Virginia, was sentenced to 87 months in prison for paying bribes to former Panamanian government officials to secure maritime contracts, in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and for making a false statement to federal agents. Jumet plead guilty last November to the charges. The sentence is the longest one given in a FCPA case to date.

Read the story here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Texas Woman Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $1.1+ Million

Gina Anzaldua Holley, 39, of Corpus Christi, Texas, plead guilty yesterday to one count of tax evasion in connection with her alleged embezzlement of $1,132,273 from an unnamed local medical group where she had been employed as an office manager. Holley is alleged to have made unauthorized ATM withdrawals, issued company checks to herself, issued company checks to pay her credit cards and other expenses and made unauthorized transfers to her checking account. Holley's misappropriations reportedly spanned a three year period between between 2003 and 2006. She owes back taxes in the amount of $297,855. According to the authorities, Holley used the embezzled funds to purchase vehicles, a house, cosmetic surgery and to fund frequent trips to Las Vegas, Nev., New York and Puerto Rico. She is scheduled to be sentenced on July 29 and faces five years in prison, plus restitution, fines and back taxes.

Read the story here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Update (7/29/10): Holley was sentenced to 24 months in prison.

Wisconsin Man Charged With Embezzling $200+K

Sean Matthew Nemitz, 35, of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, has been charged with felony theft, forgery and fraud in connection with his alleged embezzlement of $212,870 from Roberts Construction Associates Inc. where he had been employed as a project manager. According to prosecutors, over more than a three year period, from May 2006 through August 2009, Nemitz submitted false expenses for permits he allegedly paid for and then got reimbursed for by the company. He also obtained signed blank checks for permits which he then used for his own benefit. Nemitz was reportedly terminated last September but the misappropriations came to light after his departure in December 2009. Research suggest Nemitz had been employed by Roberts Construction since January 2003.

Read the story here and here.

Florida Man Accused In $880 Million Ponzi Scheme Case

Nevin K. Shapiro, 41, of Miami Beach, Florida, has been charged with money laundering and securities fraud in connection with allegedly operating a Ponzi-type investment fraud scheme that bilked investors out of some $880 million. Prosecutors allege that Shapiro used a Florida-based company he operated called Capitol Investments, USA, Inc., to lure investors who thought they were buying into a wholesale grocery distribution business. According to the SEC, Shapiro promised investors risk-free annual returns as high as 26 percent by persuading them to invest in a "grocery diversion" enterprise - a practice of buying low-cost groceries in one region of the country and reselling them in higher-priced markets. Instead, Shapiro looted the investment funds to pay for an extraordinary lavish lifestyle that included a $5.3 million Miami Beach mansion, $400,000 for courtside Miami Heat basketball tickets, a $1.5 million Riviera yacht, luxury cars, and to fuel his reported gambling habit, among other things. The scheme spanned nearly a 5 year period, from January 2005 to November 2009 when the scheme imploded.

Read the story here and here.

Read the SEC complaint here.

Update (7/19/10): Shapiro was formally indicted by a federal grand jury in New Jersey last Friday on one count of securities fraud, two counts of money laundering, one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and two counts of wire fraud.

Update (9/16/10): Shapiro pleaded guilty to the charges, admitting he defrauded investors out of as much as $880 million.

Hat tip: Reader Doug.

Connecticut Insurance Exec Pleads Guilty To Misappropriating $1 Million From Clients

Michael L. Millman, 63, of Fairfield, Connecticut, pleaded guilty this week to charges he embezzled more than $1 million in insurance premiums from his clients of two firms he owned, Nutmeg Benefits Group and Nutmeg Welfare Benefit Plan and Trust. Specifically, Millman plead guilty to bank fraud, wire fraud, and embezzlement and theft from an employee pension or welfare benefit plan. Authorities alleged that between June 2005 and last December, Millman misappropriated $655,893 by failing to send insurance premiums to the companies underwriting the policies, diverting proceeds from policies to his own use and taking loans on policies. He also defrauded Essex Savings Bank out of $344,516, which served as the trustee of the plans. Millman faces up to 78 months in prison, plus fines and restitution.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (3/24/11): Millman, now 64, and residing in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, was sentenced to 63 months in prison and ordered to pay full restitution.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Former Upstate New York Municipal Bookkeeper Pleads Guilty To Embezzling Nearly $1 Million

Melissa L. Wagner-Dano, 33, of West Leyden, New York, plead guilty Monday to charges she embezzled nearly $1 million from the Town of Lewis, and two local farm cooperatives. She had served as town clerk and bookkeeper for the Town of Lewis between 1999 and 2009; managed the finances of Boonville Farms Cooperative between 1997 and 2009; and Oneida Lewis Milk Producers Cooperative between 2006 and 2009. Specifically, Wagner-Dano plead guilty to one count of federal wire fraud. Wagner-Dano is scheduled to be sentenced on August 16, 2010. The thefts reportedly occurred over a nearly 2 year period, between January 2007 and December 2009. Authorities allege Wagner-Dano created a fictitious set of books for the Town of Lewis on an Intuit Quickbooks file. She reportedly issued herself a number of unauthorized checks and other funds transfers from the municipality and the farms. Her thefts allegedly break down the following way:
• $640,000 was stolen from the Oneida Lewis Cooperative
• $250,000 from the Town of Lewis
• $33,000 from Boonville Farms
Total misappropriations according to authorities: $923,000.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (10/26/10): Wgner-Dano was sentenced to 78 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution.

Author's Assistant In California Sentenced For Embezzling At Least $768K

Kristy S. Watts, aka Kristy Siegrist, 48, formerly of San Rafael, California, was sentenced to 33 months in prison for wire fraud and tax evasion in connection with her alleged embezzlement of $768,000 from Danielle Steel, the noteworthy San Francisco author for whom she had been employed as a part-time assistant. According to reports, Watts has made restitution for damages and other losses in the amount of $969,752 by selling her home, furnishing and other assets. Watts still owes the IRS $60,677 for back taxes on the ill-gotten gains. We note that Watts is also reportedly married to a San Francisco Police Department Officer. Prosecutors allege the thefts occurred between 1993 and 2008 while Watts handled bookkeeping, payroll, travel arrangements and other administrative tasks for Steel. Watts reportedly wrote herself extra paychecks, used credit card reward points and wrote checks out to "cash" in order to finance a lavish lifestyle, among other misappropriations. She was paid $200,000 a year by Steel, who filed a civil suit against Watts claiming she misappropriated $2.7 million.

Read the story here, here and here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Official Of Christian Missionary Group Charged With Embezzling $700K

Eun Tae Lee, 50, of Fairfax, Virginia, was charged last Friday with embezzling more than $700,000 from Seed International Inc., a missionary company sponsored by the Korean Central Presbyterian Church for which he had served as Chief Administrative Officer. According to authorities, Lee gained control of Seed International's bank account and wrote checks to accounts he had set up in his own name. The thefts are believed to date back to at least 2006. Lee is reported to have used the ill-gotten gains to finance a lavish lifestyle including the purchase of a Porsche Cayenne sport-utility vehicle.

Read the story here and here.

Update (9/14/10): Lee was formally indicted on 17 counts of embezzlement for allegedly having stolen over $700,000 from Seed International.

Update (6/30/11): Lee was sentenced to 12 months in jail today plus 3 years probation.  He must also pay $2,000 per month in restitution as well.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Florida Office Manager Charged In $243K Embezzlement Scheme

Jody Lynne Lovejoy, 51, of North Fort Meyers, Florida, was arrested Wednesday and charged with embezzling at least $243,772.75 from Fish Tale Marina, in Fort Meyers Beach, where she had been employed as an office manager. Authorities believe Lovejoy made at least 81 fraudulent transactions, including issuing checks to herself, over a nearly 7 year period, commencing in 2003. Lovejoy has been charged with one count of first degree grand theft and one count of first degree fraud.

Read the story here and here.

Private Equity Firm Quadrangle, Founded By Former Car Czar, Pays $12 Million To Settle Kickback Scheme Allegations

Quadrangle Group LLC, founded by former Obama Administration"car czar" Steve Rattner, has agreed to pay $12 million to settle allegations it had engaged in a "widespread kickback scheme" involving a "pay-to-play" scheme with former New York state officials and its pension dating back to 2005. Essentially, the SEC alleged that an unnamed Quadrangle executive arranged in 2005 for an affiliate of the firm to distribute a DVD of a low-budget film called "Cooch" that former New York State Deputy Comptroller David Loglisci and his brothers had produced. In return, Quadrangle received a $100 million investment from the New York State Common Retirement Fund, according to the SEC. Quadrangle also allegedly paid a sham $1 million "finder's fee" to Henry Morris, a top adviser to then New York Comptroller Alan Hevesi, for arranging the deal with the pension fund.

Read the story here and here.

Read the SEC complaint here and the final consent judgment here.

Florida Bookkeeper, Previously Convicted Of Embezzling Nearly $1 Million, Allegedly Embezzles $300K From 2 Companies

Sharen K. Welker Goff, 66, of Jensen Beach, Florida, was arrested and charged this week with embezzling nearly $300,000 from two local businesses she had served as bookkeeper. Goff allegedly misappropriated $102,000 from Joe’s Electric of St. Lucie County Inc. and almost $192,500 from Crystal Lighting Center by misusing company credit cards, writing checks to herself, paying personal vendors with company checks, and using funds intended to pay for the companies' taxes. Authorities believe the thefts date back to 2006. Goff was previously convicted of embezzling $987,940 from the First National Bank and Trust Co. in 1990 and sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Read the story here.

Read about the original cases here.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

International Embezzlement Beat

Ukraine

An unnamed female bookkeeper from Donetsk, Ukraine was arrested this week for allegedly embezzling more than Hr 1 million (approximately US$125,000) in state funds allocated to the Azovinteks Company for the construction of a stadium for the EURO-2012 games.


Namibia

Four education officials have been charged with embezzling N$956 365 (approximately US$130,000) from the Ministry between December 2007 and May 2008 by fraudulently inflating invoices. The four have been identified as Ministry of Education assistant accountant Magdalena Shipefi, Ministry of Education accountant Frieda France, businessman Martyn Harold Ipinge and Stanley Thomas. They have been charged with corruption and fraud. Ipinge's company, Nam Sewerage and Refuse Maintenance, was identified as the company involved in issuing the fraudulent invoices.


Kyrgyzstan

According to Russian authorities, Maxim Bakiyev, the younger son of the ousted Kyrgyz president Kurmanbek Bakiyev, is suspected of embezzling US$35 million out of a $300 million loan from Russia.


Michigan Indoor Football Team Co-Owner Accused Of Embezzling $125K

Michael H. Johnson, 29, of Dundee, Michigan, has been charged with embezzling some $125,000 from the Kalamazoo Xplosion and the Saginaw Sting indoor football teams, for which he is a co-owner. The teams are part of the Continental Indoor Football League. Johnson is charged with two counts of embezzling jointly owned property of $20,000 or more, one count of embezzling jointly owned property of more than $1,000 but less than $20,000, and issuing a bad check of more than $500. The Xplosion reportedly dissolved after players claimed they were not getting paid.

Read the story here, here and here.

Rhode Island Police Dispatcher Arrested For Allegedly Embezzling $155K From Union

Douglas H. Rogers, 41, of West Kingstown, Rhode Island, was arrested Tuesday on charges he allegedly embezzled some $155,000 from the from the International Brotherhood of Police Officers Local 473 Union, where he had served as secretary/treasurer. Rogers is a 15 year veteran dispatcher with the North Kingstown, Rhode Island Police Department. He has been suspended with pay pending an additional hearing and review of his employment status. According to authorities, over a period of five years, between March 2004 and April 2009, Rogers embezzled a total of $155,520 by making unauthorized cash withdrawals and transfers into his personal bank account. Rogers also wrote union checks to himself and made fraudulent entries into the union check register to conceal the true amounts of the actual checks.

Read the story here & here.

Read the Rhode Island State Police announcement here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

2 South Carolina Men Plead Guilty To Misappropriating Up To $400K From Bank Customer Accounts

Robert Tam, 42, of North Charleston, South Carolina and Jason Nicklous Kizer, 31, of Dorchester, South Carolina, pleaded guilty yesterday to charges they misappropriated as much as $400,000 from customer accounts at the S.C. Federal Credit Union where they had been employed as a risk analyst and an account manager, respectively. According to authorities, Tam and Kizer conspired by identifying accounts at the credit union that were inactive, including a deceased woman who was still receiving pension benefit payments and active duty military personnel who were deployed overseas. They would then execute withdrawals by ATM or other means from these accounts. Authorities believe Tam and Kizer started stealing in this manner in 2005 and continued for four years until last Fall, when the scheme was uncovered and the two were fired. They each face up to 30 years in prison, plus a fine of up to $1 million and restitution.

Read the story here and here.

Update (12/1/10): Kizer was sentenced to 18 months in prison and must pay $146,000 in restitution. Tam is still awaiting sentencing.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Florida Man Sentenced In Ponzi Scheme That Targeted Pennsylvania Residents

Sean Nathan Healy, 39, of Weston, Florida, was sentenced to 15 1/2 years in prison for operating a Ponzi-type investment fraud scheme that bilked Pennsylvania investors out of some $16.7 million. According to authorities, over the course of about 5 years, from 2003 until 2008, Healy accepted funds from investors meant to be invested in securities and commodities and used much of it to pay for a lavish lifestyle. Healy reportedly spent investor funds on such personal luxuries as a $2.4 million waterfront mansion with more than $2 million in improvements; $1.5 million in men’s and women’s jewelry; and numerous exotic vehicles and sports cars, including a Bentley and several Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches worth more than $2.3 million. Healy was arrested last October and charged with 55 counts of wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice. Healy plead guilty to two counts of wire fraud and one count of unlawful monetary transactions. Healy, a former bouncer dubbed by the media as the “King of Ponzi Bling,” operated an investment firm called Sand Dollar Investing Partners LLC to defraud approximately 50 investors. Healy's wife, Shalese Rania Healy, 37, also of Weston, Florida, was also named as a defendant in the case (pictured here with Sean Healy) since much of his assets purchased with the ill-gotten gains were put in her name.

Read the story here, here and here.

Read the original SEC complaint here.

South Dakota Woman Charged With Embezzling $100K From Bank Customer Accounts

Margaret Hussey, 67, of Rapid City, South Dakota, has been charged with embezzling more than $100,000 from customer accounts at First Western Federal Security Bank where she had been employed as a general manager. According to prosecutors, over a three year period between 2006 and 2009, Hussey forged names on at least six withdrawal slips from the accounts of four bank customers. She has plead not guilty to the charges which include aggravated and aggregated grand theft by embezzlement and forgery.

Read the story here.

Update (10/5/10): Hussey was sentenced to 3 years in prison.

Trial Starts For 50 Year Employee In North Carolina Alleged To Have Embezzled $500K

Hubert Dean Hudson, 77, of Lawndale, North Carolina, is on trial for embezzling some $500,000 from AA Ramsey and Sons Inc. where he had been employed as its sole finance officer for 50 years. Hudson, who was originally arrested in October 2008, is alleged to have written checks to himself and to personal vendors for his own benefit. The misappropriations are believed to have occurred in 2007 and 2008. Company owner, James Ramsey Sr. is quoted as saying, “I trusted him without a shadow of a doubt, like I would trust any family member.”

Read the story here and here.

Update (4/15/10): A jury found Hubert Dean Hudson guilty yesterday of embezzling about half a million dollars from AA Ramsey and Sons, Inc., a local construction company where he had been employed as chief accountant for 50 years. Hudson was sentenced to five to seven years plus six to eight years for each of the two convictions, to be served consecutively.

Delaware Couple Charged With Embezzling $220K

Carlene A. Lloyd, 27, and Richard W. Lloyd, 30, of New Castle, Delaware have been charged with embezzling more than $220,000 from Drywall Inc. where Carlene had been employed as an office manager. Prosecutors allege that over a five year period, Carlene Lloyd issued company checks to herself and her husband totalling $220,597.72. They were also alleged to have altered company books and records in an effort to hide the thefts. Specifically they were each charged with theft over $100,000, first-degree forgery, falsifying business records and conspiracy.

Read the story here and here.

Illinois Non-Profit Exec Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $667K

Kenneth M. Best Jr., 62, of Kankakee, Illinois, pleaded guilty yesterday to charges he embezzled some $667,000 of federal grant money from three non-profits he ran, including Unipar, United Development Services and United Production Services, which are supposedly involved in job training efforts. Specifically, Best pleaded guilty to charges of theft of federal funds, filing false tax returns and money laundering. He is alleged to have spend some of the misappropriated funds to purchase an airplane hangar, a motorcycle, an RV and two SUVs, among other personal expenses including aircraft maintenance and landscaping.

Read the story here .

Monday, April 12, 2010

Former Bookkeeper For Missouri Veteran's Commission Alleged To Have Embezzled $107K From Agency

Stacy Griffin-Lowery, 32, of Holt’s Summit, Missouri, is believed to have misappropriated some $107,000 from the Missouri Veterans Commission (MVC) where she had been employed as a bookkeeper. Griffin-Lowery pleaded guilty in June 2008 to a misdemeanor charge for misappropriating $17,665 in unauthorized company credit card charges for personal expenses. Unfortunately, the plea agreement was broad enough to include any other thefts from MVC during that time. At the time of the plea agreement, the state audit was not complete. Ironically, Griffin-Lowery worked with the Missouri State Auditor's Office for six years prior to working for the MVC.

Read the story here and here.

Update: Griffin-Lowery reportedly paid back the monies she embezzled. She was sentenced to pay the restitution, plus 200 hours of community service and 5 years probation.

2 Separate Major Cases Of Embezzlement In Portage, Indiana

Hubert Lynn Edgemon II, 65, of Chesterton, Indiana, was sentenced Friday to 5 years in prison for embezzling $174,961 from ISA Sales & Service where he had been employed as a bookkeeper. Edgemon pleaded guilty last December to felony theft for the embezzlement which took place over a period of 3 years, between December 2005 and December 2008. According to authorities, he wrote more than 100 company checks to himself or to "cash" which he misappropriated or to pay personal vendors. Edgemon reportedly was on probation for a prior embezzlement that he perpetrated in Illinois. He reportedly used the stolen funds to support his indigent son and to pay restitution in the prior case.

The second case involves Sherri A. Steinhilber, 36, of Valparaiso, Indiana. Steinhilber was charged with theft for allegedly embezzling a significant amount of money from Harbor Super Store, an auto dealership where she had been employed as an office manager. The charges alleged up to $260,836 was stolen by Steinhilber. However, an audit of the company books indicates she misappropriated $397,045. Steinhilber's thefts reportedly took place over a five and a half year period between December 2003 and July 2009. When confronted by the company CFO, Steinhilber reportedly admitted the embezzlement. She faces up to 8 years in prison if convicted.

Read the story here.

Read stories related to Edgemon's case here and here.

Read another story related to Steinhilber's case here.

Update (10/9/10): Steinhilber's thefts, now believed to be as much as $500,000, spanned an eight and a half year period, from December 2003 until June 2009, according to authorities. She was sentenced to 3 years in prison, plus five years probation. In an unusual move, Steinhilber was not ordered to pay restitution. Instead, Judge William Alexa encouraged Harbor Superstore to sue Steinhilber civilly for recovery. We note that she has had prior theft convictions.

Former CFO Of Catholic Agency In Buffalo, New York Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $223K

Sophia M. Canahai, 48, of Lockport, New York, pleaded guilty today to charges she embezzled nearly $223,000 from the Cantalician Center for Learning where she had served as the long-time chief financial officer. According to prosecutors, over a period of almost 17 years, from January 1, 1992 until October 1, 2008, Canahai stole a total of $222,684.49 from the Catholic agency to pay off home loans and other personal expenses. Canahai pleaded guilty to second-degree grand larceny and offering a false instrument for filing. She faces up to 19 years in prison and has already made full restitution, according to reports.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (8/20/10): Canahai was sentenced to 5 years probation. Her father reportedly paid back the $223,000 in restitution.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Longtime Community Health Center Director Arrested For Allegedly Misappropriating $236K

Nancy Willis Benefield, 72, of Alvin, Texas, has been indicted on charges she misappropriated some $236,000 from Alvin Community Health Endeavor, Inc. where she has served as Executive Director for 40 years. Benefield was arrested Thursday after she turned herself in to authorities and booked on felony charges of misapplication of fiduciary property and theft. Prosecutors allege that Benefield wrote herself checks in excess of her salary over a period of about three years, between 2004 and 2007. She is also alleged to have inappropriately employed family members, used clinic credit cards for personal purchases and issued checks for expenses not related to the clinic. The clinic has received federal funds to help it operate as a health center for low-income residents.

Read the story here and here.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Former California Theater Manager Convicted Of Embezzling $300K

Kenneth Rae Kintsley, 42, of Walnut Creek, California, was convicted by jury of embezzling some $300,000 from the San Francisco Loews Metreon Theater where he had been employed as a manager. Prosecutors alleged that between September 2001 and January 2004, Kintsley skimmed cash from daily receipts from the theater. The jury convicted Kintsley after a five week trial on felony counts of embezzlement, grand theft, altering computer data and tax fraud,

Read the story here, here and here.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

North Carolina Man Charged With Embezzling $228K From Cellular Company

Bobby Jerome Glass, 41, of Wilmington, North Carolina has been charged with embezzling some $228,000 from Cellular Express where he had been employed as a district manager. Details are scant at this time.

Read the story here and here.
Developing... If anyone has details on this case. Please let us know.

Update: Petters Gets 50 Years For $3.65 billion Ponzi Scheme

Thomas "Tom" J. Petters, 52, of Wayzata, Minnesota, was sentenced to 50 years in prison for running a $3.65 billion Ponzi-type investment fraud scheme, one of the largest ever. Petters was convicted last December on all 20 criminal counts that he faced, including wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering. The fraud and conspiracy case involved Minnetonka-based Petters Group Worldwide, LLC, his primary holding company, and Petters Company Inc., the investment arm of the group. Petters and his co-conspirators bilked investors who thought their investment money was being using to buy consumer electronics for resale to retailers such as BJ's Wholesale Club and Costco. Several other executives of the company, including Deanna Coleman, Robert White, Michael Catain and Larry Reynolds, who have all previously pleaded guilty in the case.

Read the story here, here and here.

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

Former Iowa Bookkeeper Charged With Embezzling Nearly $100K

Michelle Leigh Irving, 39, of Knoxville, Iowa, has been charged with embezzling nearly $100,000 from the Knoxville Raceway where she had been employed as an accounting manager. According to prosecutors, Irving deposited raceway checks into her own accounts. The scheme was uncovered last month when Iowa State Savings Bank notified the Marion County Fair Board, which runs the track. Authorities say their investigation revealed that Irving stole a total of $98,000 over more than a two year period, beginning in January 2007. She was arrested on March 23, 2010 and charged with theft in the first degree, a Class C felony.

Read the story here and here.
Update (8/26/10): Irving pleaded guilty to first degree theft and was sentenced to 5 years probation and restitution.

Former Texas Bookkeeper Sentenced For Misappropriating $427K

Bethie Annette Horn, 48, of Mineola, Texas was sentenced yesterday to 21 months in federal prison for misappropriating more than $427,000 from Donovan White Cabinets where she had been employed as a bookkeeper. Horn, who was originally indicted last October and pleaded guilty to bank fraud charges last December, forged checks issued on the company's Capital One Bank account and then deposited them into her personal bank account. The scheme lasted two years between April 2006 to April 2008. Horn must also pay full restitution in the amount of $427,023.68. Horn blamed her actions in part on health problems.

Read the story here, here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Hat tip: Reader Joe.

North Carolina Woman Charged WIth Embezzling $187K From Auto Dealership

Joyce Ann McCray, 50, of Monroe, North Carolina, has been charged with embezzling more than $187,000 from Dale Jarrett Ford, a local auto dealership where she had been employed. According to prosecutors, McCray had been embezzling funds from the dealership since 2006. The scheme was discovered late last year when her employer reportedly suspected her of stealing company gift cards. The total amount McCray is suspected of stealing is $187,558.18, according to reports. Her next court hearing is on May 5th.

Read the story here, here and here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Former Mississippi Court Clerk Sentenced For Embezzling $100+K

Terry Ann Swatsenberg, 46, of Southaven, Mississippi, was sentenced yesterday to 30 months in prison for embezzling more than $100,000 from the municipality for whom she had been employed as a Court Clerk. According to prosecutors, Swatsenberg, who was responsible for processing court fines and bond deposits which were often paid in cash, began taking funds for her own benefit on July 1, 2007. Her scheme reportedly lasted a year over which time she misappropriated a total of $109,000, according to authorities. Swatsenberg had been employed by the municipality since 1996. According to the audit report, “substantial and significant internal control weaknesses” existed in the court department - something the city has moved to change. As part of her sentence, Swatsenberg was ordered to pay $47,000 in restitution, which only covers the cost of the investigation and prosecution. However, the city's insurance carrier claims the total loss was more like $250,000.

Read the story here, here and here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Florida Woman Charged As Part Of Investigation Into Condo Embezzlement Scheme That Could Reach As Much As $4 Million

Stacey Herrin Snopek Tuck, 35, of North Port, Florida, has been charged on felony counts of Scheme to Defraud and Grand Theft in connection with the alleged misappropriation of more than $100,000 from Chelsea House, a condominium association she had been hired to manage. According to authorities, Herrin-Tuck was employed as a Community Association Manager for Star Hospitality Management, Inc., the management company hired to run the condominium complex known as Charlotte Square, which includes a total of 10 condo associations. Authorities are investigating embezzlement schemes that could total $4 million from all of the associations. The investigation is ongoing into the other possibly related cases. Herrin-Tuck is believed to have started misappropriating association funds in June 2006 and continued until September 2008.

Read the story here here and here.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Pennsylvania Money Manager Accused In $26 Million Ponzi Scheme

Donald Anthony Walker Young, 38, of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, was indicted Thursday on charges he defrauded investors out of some $26 million in a Ponzi-type investment fraud scheme. Specifically, Young was charged with one count of mail fraud and one count of money laundering. According to prosecutors, over at least a four year period, from 2005 to 2009, Young used investment funds entrusted to him through his investment firm, Acorn Capital Management, LLC, to finance a lavish lifestyle that included homes in Florida and Maine as well as a horse farm in Pennsylvania. Young is also accused of paying earlier investors out of new investment funds and creating false investment statements for clients to conceal his fraud. Young faces up to 30 years in prison, plus fines and restitution if convicted on both felony counts.

Read the story here, here and here.

Read the original SEC complaint here.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Former Missouri Office Manager Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $115K

Laura Louise Troutman, 40, of St. Charles, Missouri, pleaded guilty this week to charges she embezzled more than $115,000 in escrow funds from Eaton Properties of St. Louis where she had been employed as an office manager. According to prosecutors, over a three and a half year period, between January 2006 and August 2009, Troutman misappropriated some of the rental payments from tenants. Troutman, who pleaded guilty to one felony count of mail fraud, misappropriated a total of $115,752, according to authorities. Troutman faces up to 30 years in prison plus fines up to $250,000 and restitution upon sentencing, which is scheduled for June 25.

Read the story here, here and here.

Friday, April 2, 2010

High Flying New York Used Car Dealer With Mobster Fantasy Is Charged With Embezzling $7 Million

Chris Orsaris, 37, of Manhasset, New York, was charged today in a 164-count indictment with embezzling some $7 million from Major Automotive Cos., where he was employed as general manager. The scheme reportedly involved the alleged inflation of used car sales commissions, over a period of at least 7 years, between 2002 and 2009. Authorities say Orsaris was a "mobster wannabe" and used the embezzled funds to support and extraordinary lavish lifestyle. Orsaris is reported to own a $5.5 million Trump Tower apartment, a $2.9 million home in Southampton, a $2 million condominium in Florida and a $5 million waterfront home in Queens, New York. He is also reported to own a $860,000 yacht christened "B LOW ME," which he made a fraudulent claim that it had been stolen. Orsaris is reported to have hired criminals and thugs at his business to act as enforcers and bodyguards. The indictment accuses Orsaris of funneling the stolen funds through three phony corporations - and forging his boss' signature as part of the scheme. Orsaris was arrested last month for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend. He has been denied bail.

Read the story here, here and here.

Montana Bookkeeper Charged In $123K Embezzlement Case

Joanne Walsh, 44, of Butte, Montana, has been charged with embezzling more than $123,000 from Skill Built Truss, a local company where she had been employed as a bookkeeper. According to prosecutors, Walsh issued herself checks from company accounts over a three year period between 2006 and 2009, totalling $123,595. According to an affidavit filed with the court, Walsh admitted the thefts and claimed she did it to pay support a gambling habit and her disabled daughter. She has plead not guilty to the charges.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (9/16/10): Walsh reached a plea agreement with prosecutors whereby she pleaded guily to felony theft.

Former Colorado University Official Suspected In $450K Embezzlement Case

An unnamed former administrator at Naropa University, based in Boulder, Colorado, is being investigated by the FBI on suspicion she embezzled some $450,000 from the institution. According to authorities, the suspect misappropriated the funds over a two year period. The university fired its CFO, Sue Evans, and its comptroller, Suree Chounlamountry, for "failure to establish proper controls," although they are reportedly not suspected of any criminal wrongdoing.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (11/28/10): The unnamed former administrator has been identified as Ronda F. Devers, 41, who was an accounts payable clerk with Naropa University. Devers has been indicted on 18 counts of theft and forgery. She is now believed to have misappropriated $590,871. The thefts allegedly spanned a two year period, from February 2008 until March 2010, according to reports. According to the indictment, Devers took student refund checks, voided them and reissued them to herself or to her unnamed girlfriend.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Indiana Man Charged With Embezzling $1.6 Million

John Keith Branam, 52, of Shelbyville, Indiana, was charged today with bank fraud, money laundering and filing false individual income tax returns in connection with his alleged misappropriation of more than $1.6 million from King's Title & Abstract Company, a local title company he had been employed by. According to authorities, beginning in 2004 until 2007, Branam used several fictitious companies, including Branam Properties, Rocksolid Investments and King's, to misappropriate the funds from King's Title by setting up bank accounts in those names and executing transfers of funds by writing checks. All in, authorities believe Branam embezzled $1,619,819.80 from the company in this manner. Branam, who had been employed by the firm since 1996, was fired in 2007 after the discrepancies were revealed. He was arrested on May 23, 2008, and charged with 11 felonies, including misappropriation of funds, theft and corrupt business influence. If convicted on all counts, Branam faces up to 43 years in prison, plus a fine of up to $1.5 million and restitution.

Read the story here and here.

Embezzlements More Prevalent, Article Says

According to the Jacksonville Financial News & Daily Record, embezzlement cases are more prevalent in recent months "as people in trusted positions improperly stepped over the bottom line." Small businesses and non-profits are particularly hard hit, according to the article, written by Joe Wilhelm, Jr. The article provides some tips on how to avoid an embezzlement, which include:
• Related duties should be assigned to different people. Have a system of checks and balances. Have more than one person sign off on company payments.
• Scrutinize bank statements and reconcile bank statements every month.
• Look at original documents before signing checks or authorizing payment.
• Lock down and check blank checks and signature stamps.
• Secure fidelity bonds and insurance for all accounting and key personnel.
• Know your employees, watch for changes in behavior. Look for trouble signs, such as changes in lifestyle or substance abuse.
• Make sure employees take vacations so they don’t maintain full-time control of any organization business.
• Change computer passwords regularly.
• Perform thorough background checks before hiring any employee.

Read the whole article here.

Of course, The Small Business Fraud Prevention ToolKit is also helpful.

Former Booster Club Treasurer In California Charged In Alleged $175K Embezzlement Case

Herman Wong, 62, of Venice, California, was arrested and charged with one count of grand theft by embezzlement recently with misappropriating as much as $175,000 from the Venice High School Booster Club where he had served as volunteer treasurer for the past 6 years. Wong was reportedly the only bookkeeper for the organization. Details on the case have not fully been released.

Read the story here.

Pennsylvania Woman Admits She Embezzled Nearly $1.5 Million

Terry I. Hershey, 39, of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty yesterday to mail fraud, admitting she embezzled nearly $1.5 million from her former employer, Custom Power Services Inc., a local manufacturer of battery-powered generators. Prosecutors alleged that over the course of 7 1/2 years, between April 2002 and September 2009, Hershey wrote at least 276 checks totalling $1,460,633.99 to herself and her creditors to pay personal expenses and enrich herself. Hershey, who was an account manager at the company, then made false entries into the company's books and records in an effort to conceal her thefts. She faces up to 20 years in prison, plus a $250,000 fine and restitution.

Read the story here and here.

Update (8/28/10): Hershey was sentenced to three years in prison for embezzling what is believed to now be more than $1.7 million. She was also ordered to pay full restitution.

Former New York School Administrator Sentenced For Embezzling $562K

Donald Guy Fuller, 50, of Hamburg, New York, was sentenced yesterday to 33 months in prison for embezzling some $562,000 from the prestigious Canisius High School in Buffalo where he had served as facilities director. According to prosecutors, over a span of thirteen years, Fuller fraudulently billed the school 141 times under the name of a fake company, D.J. Mechanical & Supply, for work that was never done, keeping to proceeds for himself. Fuller was also ordered to pay the IRS $150,000 in back taxes on the ill-gotten gains and make full restitution to the school. At his sentencing hearing, Fuller claimed that he stole the money to help support his disabled son.

Read the story here, here and here.