Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Major Embezzlement Cases: September 1 - 7, 2012

Paul Nogaki
Paul Takuya Nogaki, 55, of Murrieta, California, was arrested on charges he embezzled as much as $135,000 from the Vista Murrieta Golden Alliance Band Boosters for which he had served as treasurer.  According to media reports, an informal audit was conducted after a new treasurer was appointed which confirmed that Nogaki had misappropriated Band Booster Club funds for his personal use. 
Update (10/24/12): Nogaki has pleaded not guilty to the embezzlement charges of what is now believed to be more than $212,000.  His thefts allegedly spanned a 2 year period.

Todd W. Lauzon, 39, of Woonsockett, Rhode Island, pleaded guilty to 30 counts of embezzlement in connection with his alleged theft of at least $137,000 from customer deposits for pre-payment of funderal services with his business, Lauzon Funeral Home.  Prosecutors allege that Lauzon misappropriated client funds over a 7 year period, from 2002 to 2009. 
Update (9/5/12): Lauzon was sentenced to a net 4 years in prison.

Patricia Ann Stanz, 61, pleaded guilty to charges she embezzled more than $525,000 from the Gesu Roman Catholic Church in West Toledo, Ohio where she had served as business manager.  Over a period of about 3 years, from June 2008 through August 2011, Stanz issued nearly 100 checks to herself or cash.  During this period she also abused church credit card accounts for her own benefit.  Specifically, Stanz pleaded guilty to one count each of counterfeit securities and of fraudulent use of access device.  Stanz reportedly blames a gambling addiction for her actions.
Update (2/23/13): Stanz was sentenced to two years in federal prison and ordered to repay $505,777 in restitution.

The late Linda Mae Jenkins, who passed away at 53 on March 24, 2012 from cancer, is reported to have embezzled about $140,000 from Old Orchard Beach, Maine's Libby Memorial Library, where she had served as bookeeper.  Jenkins' thefts reportedly spanned a 6 year period.  Officials blamed a complete lack of oversight for the embezzlement.

Charity Howder
Charity D. Howder, 36, of Santa Rosa, California, has been arrested on charges she embezzled some $262,000 from a Petaluma consulting company and a Rohnert Park law office where she had served as outside bookkeeper.  Howder allegedly wrote numerous checks from the accounts of her two clients, The Law Offices of Charlotte Creaghan and Project Management Solutions, Inc., for her own benefit.  Specifically, Howder has been charged with one count of grand theft and two counts of forgery. 
Update (12/3/12): Howder is now suspected of embezzling an additional $102,000 from a third client, Andreoli's Towing, through her bookkeeping business, G&C Financial

Two former North Carolina Central University administrators were indicted for allegedly conspiring to misappropriate more than $1 milliion from the institution.  The two include Nan Coleman, who administered the former Historically Minority Colleges and Universities Consortium, and former NCCU Provost Beverly Washington Jones.  Coleman and Jones allegedly embezzling $137,330 and $62,128, respectively, in grant money meant to help African American students.  Coleman allegedly stole the funds over a 5 year period, from 2005 through 2010 and Jones misappropriated the funds over a 4 year period, from 2005 through 2009.  An additional $600,000 was allegedly diverted to a private account used by Coleman to pay for personal expenses over a nine month period between December 2008 and August 2009. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Major Embezzlement Cases August 21 - 31, 2012

Etheridge H. Moore
Etheridge Henry Moore, 58, of Kentwood, Michigan, reportedly confessed to embezzling more than $100,000 from the Heritage Baptist Church in Gaines Township, where he had served as pastor for 26 years.  Moore allegedly submitted receipts for reimbursement which were not approved by the deacons of the church.  The thefts allegedly spanned at least 2 1/2 years beginning at least as far back as January 2010.
Update (12/11/12): The amount emezzled by Moore is now believed to be $316,000, according to investigators.  Moore was sentenced to 1 to 20 years in prison, but will be recommended for a boot camp program that could allow him to be back to work at a Holland area car dealership within six months.

Jennifer Lynn McCage, 39, of Memphis, Tennessee, pleaded guilty to embezzling some $234,000 from Dunavant Enterprises where she had been employed as an executive assistant to company chairman, William B. 'Billy' Dunavant Jr.  According to authorities, beginning in April 2007, McCage began abusing Dunavant's credit cards and checking accounts for personal purposes.  The thefts reportedly continued until January 2012.  She had been employed at the company since 1992.  She faces a sentence of up to 27 months in prison.
Update (12/4/12): McCage was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $234,000 in restitution following her guilty plea to one count of mail fraud.

Manika Kelly, 33, was arrested and charged with embezzling more than $107,000 from the City of Anguilla, Mississippi, where she had served as town clerk.  According to authorities, Kelly misappropriated town receipts for her own purposes over  a period of about 5 years, from October 2006 through November 2011, totaling $107,444.67.  Update (2/21/14): Kelly has pleaded guilty to one felony count of grand larceny.

Timothy Sharpe, a paralegal working for the Chattanooga, Tennessee branch of the Fisher Law Group, has been charged with embezzling about $126,000 from the law firm.  According to legal filings, over an 11 month period, Sharpe converted at least 30 checks made out to the firm for his own benefit.  The law firm has sued their bank, Regions Bank, the institution through which Sharpe's alleged fraud was perpetrated, for recovery.

Jongluck "Lucky" Mutrais, 59, of Orange, California, pleaded guilty to charges she embezzled some $600,000 from the City of Long Beach, for which she was employed in the Animal Care Services Bureau.  She is expected to be sentenced to 3 years in state prison pursuant to a plea agreement.  Mutrais' misappropriations reportedly spanned a 10 year period.  Specifically, Mutrais was charged with one felony count each of misappropriation of public funds, altering or falsifying an account and embezzlement by a public officer, along with six felony counts of filing false income tax returns. She pleaded guilty to embezzling public funds and filing a false 2008 state tax return and admitted two allegations that the amount of money taken was more than $100,000.
Update (9/12/12/): Mutrais was sentenced to 3 years in prison and ordered to pay $600,000 in restitution.

Eugene Ceriello
Eugene Ceriello, 48, of Stamford, Connecticut was arrested for embezzling $1,157,706.62 from Greenwich Automotive Services where he had been employed as a manager.  According to authorities, Ceriello's thefts spanned nearly 4 years, from January 2005 to December 2008.  He had already pleaded guilty to filing false tax returns and was sentenced to 18 months in prison in April 2012.

Terry Kay Workman, 44, of Hurricane, West Virginia, pleaded guilty to charges she embezzled about $380,000 from the law firm of Bucci, Bailey & Javins where she had been employed as office manager.  Over a period of at least 6 years, from 2004 until 2010 when she was fired, Workman wrote checks to herself.  She plead guilty to 6 out of 13 felony embezzlement counts she had been indicted on in a plea agreement. 
Update (9/25/12): Workman was sentenced to a miniumum of 6 years in prison.

Edward Steed
Edward Waters, 62, of Kinston, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to charges he defrauded the Discovery Insurance Company out of more than $2.3 million in a conspiracy involving executives and others affiliated with the company.  A total of $5.3 million is alleged to have been misappropriated from the company through an embezzlement scheme led by Former company executive Edward Roland Steed, 67, of Swansboro, North Carolina, who is accused of writing company claim checks to fictitious businesses owned by Marvin Quinn, 55, of Goldsboro, North Carolina and Waters.  Steed's brother, Franklin Steed, 65, of Denton, North Carolina, is accused of cashing checks from the insurance company that were made out to fake people.  The fraud allegedly spanned a 6 year period in which the four co-conspirators split the embezzled funds.  Steed faces 48 felony counts including conspiracy, corporate malfeasance, larceny by employee, embezzlement and obtaining property by false pretense.  The other defendants face similar charges.  Update: Waters has pleaded guilty in the case.

Dolores Morales was sentenced to 1 year in prison and ordered to pay restitution for embezzling about $111,000 from the Quail H Farms LLC in Livingston, California, where she had been employed as a sales clerk for some 20 years.  Morales reportedly accepted cash sales for produce and kept the money for herself over a period of 4 months beginning in 2010.

Stephanie Kaye Cieslinski, 53, of Midland, Michigan, pleaded guilty to two felony counts admitting she embezzled more than $100,000 from the local dentist office of Dr. Michael T. Smith where she had been employed.  Cieslinski admitted that she deposited receipts into her own accounts during the year 2009.  Cieslinski’s husband, Kenneth Cieslinski, 55, faces two counts of embezzlement as the funds misappropriated from Dr. Smith were held in accounts in Kenneth Cieslinski's name.  Together, the couple are alleged to have embezzled nearly $1 million from the dentist.  Stephanie Cieslinski was also ordered to pay $750,000 in restitution. 

An unnamed (now former) employee of Rathbun Reality in Tucson, Arizona is suspected in the alleged embezzlement of as much as $1 million from client accounts.  Developing...
Update (1/17/13): it appears that Rathbun owner George Glover and bookkeeper Cassandra Arnold may face criminal charges in the theft of what is now believed to be $1.8 million in client funds from trust accounts.  Glover's wife, Bette Glover, may also face charges.  The firm has since declared for bankruptcy.

Harry Jose, believed to be 41, of Canyon Country, California, has been sentenced to one year in jail for embezzling $256,000 from the Canyon Country Athletic Association for which he had served as treasurer.   Jose's thefts reportedly spanned a 4 year period.  He pleaded no contest to one count of grand theft and two counts of forgery.  Jose was also ordered to pay restutition. 
Update (12/7/12): Jose faces additional embezzlement charges in which he is alleged to have stolen nearly $90,000 from a different unnamed Sun Valley business after resigning from Canyon Country AA, according to prosecutors.


Paul Kulgavin
Paul Kulgavin, 33, of Oakton, Virginia has been arrested on charges he embezzled more than $200,000 from an unnamed Falls Church defense contractor.   Kulgavin is accused of not repaying advance monies for seminars that never ocurred in 2011 and 2012.  He faces to counts of embezzlement.  (Hat tip: FraudTalk reader Joe)  Note: research suggests that the unnamed defense contractor is Sevatec, Inc.

Satishi Suri, 57, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has been arrested on federal fraud charges involving $2.37 million in fraudulent mortgages and loans for eight properties while serving as a bank officer at Sovereign Bank in Horsham, Pennsylvania.  Suri allegedly submitted false and fraudulent documents to get the loans and mortgages approved in exchange for kickbacks from the borrowers.

Kathryn Charbonneau
Kathryn E. Charbonneau, 49, of Bay City, Michigan, has been accused of embezzling more than $100,000 from the law firm of Rieman & Reyes in Bay City, Michigan, where she had been employed as the long-time secretary and bookkeeper.  Charbonneau's thefts allegedly spanned an 11 year period, from 2001 through 2012.  According to authorities, Charbonneau pocketed cash receipts for her own benefit.  (Hat tip: FraudTalk reader Joe)
Update (10/25/12): Charbonneau's thefts are now believed to be $446,000.

Lili Clay, 50, of Mountain View, California has been arrested and charged with embezzling some $350,000 from Lencioni Construction where she had been employed.  Clay allegedly kept fraudulent reimbursements over a period of about one and a half years, from January 2011 and August 2012.  When confronted by company owners, Clay admitted to the theft and fled the business, but was apprehended in her car in Exeter, California.  (Hat tip: FraudTalk reader Joe)
Update (12/14/12): Clay, who worked as the company controller for Lencioni Construction, has been sentenced to 4 years in prison.



Marc Eisbrener
Marc Wayne Eisbrener, 30, of Caledonia, Michigan, has reached a plea agreement with county prosecutors in Kent County to plead guilty to one count of embezzlement of between $50,000 and $100,000 from Ludema’s Floral and Garden where he had been employed as a general manager.  The business has been in the Ludema family for 5 generations and Eisbrener married Alison Ludema, who has not been charged with any crime in this case at this time.  Eisbrener is believed to have embezzled about $345,000 from the business over a 2 year period from 2009 to 2011.  As part of the plea agreement, Eisbrener has agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $345,528, plus $5,000 to the company's insurance carrier.


Kandi Kay Holden, 43, of Cantonment, Florida, has been indicted on charges she embezzled at least $282,000 from Cantwell Steel Erectors, Inc., where she had been employed as a bookkeeper.  According to prosecutors, over a period of more than 6 years, from November 2004, until her discharge in January 2011, Holden executed at least 120 fraudulent wire transfers of company funds to her own accounts and failed to pay income tax on the ill-gotten gains.  Specifically, Holden has been indicted on 120 counts of wire fraud and 5 counts of federal tax violations.


Scott Anthony Gardner, a former investigator at the Porterville Developmental Center, in Porterville, California has been charged with embezzling $121,000 in fraudulent overtime pay from the agency.  Gardner's superior, Jeffrey Bradley, the former police chief, allegedly participated in the fraud “by directing and authorizing false entries on overtime slips submitted by Scott Gardner with respect to the number of hours worked and the reasons the hours were worked,” according to the criminal complaint.  The overtime hours were logged in 2008 and the pair were originally indicted on embezzlement charges in 2010.

Kirk Strause
Kirk Lester Strause, 51, of Sanford, North Carolina, has been arrested on charges he embezzled $331,000 from Primax Properties LLC where he had been employed in an undisclosed capacity.  According to media reports, Strause made unauthorized expenditures for his own benefit from company business accounts beginning in June 2006 and continuing through August 2012.  Specifically, Strause has been charged with one count felony embezzlement greater than $100,000, one count felony forgery of endorsement, one count felony uttering forged endorsement and one count obtaining property by false pretense greater than $100,000.  (Hat tip: FraudTalk reader Joe)

Major Embezzlement Cases: August 14 - 20, 2012


Cheryl Porter
Cheryl Celeste Kenyon Porter, 45, of Greensboro, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to charges she embezzled about $162,000 from Piedmont Staffing Solutions Inc., where she had been employed and had the responsibility of handling the company's payroll.  According to authorities, Porter caused the payroll system to cut additional payroll checks to herself and family members, totalling $162,000.  The thefts spanned a period of about 4 years, beginning in 2008.

Heather Nicole Laake, 21, of Winifrede, West Virginia, has been charged with embezzling more than $101,000 from the South Charleston Employees Federal Credit Union where she had been employed.  According to authorities, Laake took funds from customer accounts and changed the account information in an effort to conceal the thefts.  Laake's boyfriend at the time, Dewayne Spaulding, is also facing similar charges.  The misappropriations reportedly spanned a 4 month period. 

Stennett “Glen” Bernard, 58, of Brockton, Massachusetts, was sentenced to 5 years probation and ordered to pay restitution for embezzling $173,312 from the United Steelworkers Local 421 union which operated at the Serta Mattress Company in Middleboro, Mass.  Bernard had served as president of the union from which he siphoned funds over a period of about 2 years. 

Joseph Winford Hughes, 44, and his wife, Cylena Taylor Hughes, 44, both of Bryson City, North Carolina, were arrested and charged with embezzling more than $100,000 from the Bryson City Fire Department local Firemen’s Relief Fund and the East Swain Elementary Parent Teacher Organization fund.  Joseph Hughes was the Bryson City fire chief. 

Pamela Fisha Nishon Atkinson, 41, of Asheville, North Carolina, was arrested and charged with embezzling more than $100,000 from Wood Tech Enterprises over a period of about 2 years, from 2009 to 2011.   Developing...


Cathleen Schmid
Cathleen Schmid, believed to be in her mid-40s, has been arrested and charged with embezzling about $220,000 from Dominion Liquid Technologies of Fairfax, Ohio.  The thefts reportedly spanned a 3 year period, from 2008 through 2011.  Schmid allegedly submitted fraudulent expense reports for reimbursement and caused the company to issue checks to third party personal vendors to whom she owed money.
Update (11/20/12): Schmid, 47, was sentenced to 2 years in prison.  She has a history of embezzlement and was convicted in:
  • 2006 for stealing $51,126.82 from Hills Developers, where Schmid worked from March 2003 to August 2005. She also used fake invoices there to help her steal company money. She was placed on probation and ordered to repay the company;
  • 2009 for stealing $10,000 from her Mason employer, National Starch, now known as Henkel Co. She was placed on probation for three years in 2009 and ordered to spend 150 days in jail on a work release program. She was working for Dominion at that time;
  • 2000 in Clermont County for a theft case for which she received probation, the judge said Monday. It’s unclear if that conviction was for stealing from an employer.

Mirza H. Baig, 49, of Marlborough, Massachusetts was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison for embezzling more than $2 million from New England Cash Dispensing Systems Inc. which was contracted to manage ATMs for the Domestic Bank of Cranston, Rhode Island.  Baig and other NECDS employees reportedly ordered excess cash for ATM refills and pocketed the difference.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Major Embezzlement Cases: August 7 - 13, 2012

I am going to make a concerted effort to get caught up here, but it may take some time.  Real work and life has intruded on all this fun fraud stuff...

Nicholas James Collins, 55, of Minneapolis, MN was arrested on charges he embezzled more than $155,000 from Open Arms of Minnesota, a local non-profit that delivers food to home bound individuals through Meals on Wheels and Loaves & Fishes charities.  He was the director of food services from 2009 to 2012 and presented fraudulent invoices for catering services.
Update (3/29/13): Collins pleaded guilty to four counts of theft by swindle in connection with the embezzlement of about $155,000 from Open Arms of Minnesota.  He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 4, 2013.

Monica Lou Pruett, 59, of Connell, Washington, was arrested on charges she embezzled more than $100,000 from D & S Farms where she had served as outside bookkeeper through her business, Lierman Business Services.  Developing...  Note: Pruett was the mayor pro-tem of Connell, Washington at the time of her arrest.
Update (11/14/12): Pruett is scheduled to go on trial in December 2012 on aggravated felony charges of first-degree theft and money laundering.  According to court documents, her thefts spanned nearly 7 years from June 2005 through April 2012.  She is accused of using client checks from D&S Farms to pay her personal and business property taxes and utilities.

Read more here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2012/11/14/2170101/connell-official-in-court-on-embezzlement.html#storylink=cpy

Bobby Glen Guin
Bobby Glen Guin, 44, of Minden, Louisiana, was indicted on charges he allegedly embezzled nearly $100,000 from the Webster Parish Coroner’s Office where he had been employed as a bookkeeper.  The thefts reportedly spanned more than a 3 year period, from March 4, 2009 through June 15, 2012, according to the indictment.
Update (11/14/12): Guin has been sentenced to a net 1 year in jail.

A prominent Tennessee-based surgeon, Dr. David G. Stanley, filed a civil lawsuit against his former bookkeeper, Jeffrey L. Russell, now 64, and SunTrust Bank for damages sustained as a result of Russell's embezzlement of some $654,003.82 from two of Dr. Stanley's companies over a five year period, from 2005 through 2010.  Russell was indicted in August 2011 on eight counts of forgery and two counts of theft and was arrested in July 2012 after months on the run.  According to the lawsuit, Russell wrote checks out of the operating accounts of Vascular Diagnostic Center of Oak Ridge, and Stanley's billing company, Physicians Diagnostic Services and deposited them into the SunTrust account of Premier Business Services, a janitorial business owned by Russell.

Ignacio "Nacho" Morales, 40, of North Philadelphia, PA, was charged with embezzling more than $2.3 million from the Borinquen Federal Credit Union (BFCU), where he was employed as a manager.  Morales repotedly used the ill-gotten gains to purchase 15 kilograms of cocaine and real estate.  BFCU was acquired by the National Credit Union Association in June 2011 which propmptly shuttered the financial institution.  Specifically, Morales has been charged with conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims, misapplication and embezzlement, making false reports on federal credit institution entries, engaging in monetary transaction in property derived from specified unlawful activity, filing false federal income tax returns, and attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine.

Erica Gilmore-Grier, 35, of Fort Pierce, Florida has been indicted along with six other female beneficiaries/conspirators in a scheme to embezzle more than $200,000 from Policy Studies Inc., where she had been employed as a financial manager.  Specifically, she has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and 64 counts of mail fraud.  According to the indictment, Gilmore-Grier authorized at least 64 fraudulent refund checks to her family and friends, also named as co-defendants in the case.  These include Margo Nickerson, Bridgette Galarza, Chelsea Durham, Jessica Harris, Jamile Williams and Venus Holloman.
Update (2/26/13): Gilmore-Grier was sentenced to 33 months in prison.  He co-horts, including Margo Nickerson, 36, Jessica Harris, 22, Jamile Williams, 34, and Venus Holloman, 26, and Port St. Lucie residents Bridgette Galarza, 31, and 40-year-old Chelsea Durham, were also convicted on related charges.  Nickerson was sentenced to 30 months, Harris to 24 months and Holloman to 20 months. The remaining will serve four to eight months.

John Kammerer, 60, of Wichita, Kansas, was sentenced to 51 months in prison for embezzling more than $1.2 million from Network Results of Kansas Inc. where he had been employed as company controller.  According to reports, Kammerer caused numerous checks to be issued to HMK Enterprises, a company that he controlled.  Kammerer had pleaded guilty last May to one count of bank fraud in connection with the embezzlement and must pay $1,240,540 in restitution.

Three parking attendants at the  Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia were arrested for embezzling at least $400,000 in parking fees over a period of 3 years.  The arrested included two women, Freweyni Mebrahtu of Sterling, VA and Genete Yigzu of Alexandria, VA, and one man, Meseret Terefe of Silver Spring, Maryland, employees of Parking Management Inc., which held the contract to manage the parking lot.  The three were recorded unplugging automobile counting devices and pocketing the difference, as much as $4,000 a day each.
Update (2/8/13): According to media reports, more than $1.5 million was stolen from the Smithsonian via the three parking attendant conspiracy over about a 3 year period.  Mebrahtu admitted she alone stole $895,000 herself and was sentenced to 27 months in prison.  Terefe was sentenced to 20 months in prison and Yigzu died before trial. 

Denise Inez Owens, 58, of Ocean Pines, Maryland, has been charged with embezzling more than $433,000 from the Worcester County Teacher's Association, where she had served as Treasurer.  Owens allegedly wrote numerous unauthorized checks to herself and others, and made withdrawals from the account for "personal issues and debt," according to the police.  Developing...
Update (2/19/13): Owens pleaded guilty to charges she embezzled $433,000 from the teachers union and blamed a gambling habit for her actions.
Update (3/4/13): Owens was sentenced to 2 years in prison and ordered to pay $211,545 in restitution.

Davie Ba Ngo, 52, president of the Concerned Members Committee in Northern California and his co-worker, Stephanie Tuyet Le, 31, were charged with embezzling at least $200,000 from the survifor benefits firm.  Prosecutors charged both Ngo and Le with embezzlement. Ngo is also charged with theft by false pretenses, sale of an unqualified security, running a fraudulent securities scheme, money laundering and bouncing checks.
Update (1/4/13): Ngo, now 53, pleaded no contest to felony embezzlement charges.  Le, now 32, was convicted on a single embezzlement charge.
Update (3/1/13): Ngo was sentenced to 2 years in prison and Le was sentenced to 6 months.

Jamie Askew, 36, of Troy, Illinois, has been indicted on charges she embezzled $104,755 between July 2009 and May $104,755 between July 2009 and May 2012 from St. Louis Community Credit Union in St. Louis, Missouri,  where she had ben employed.  Developing...
Update (12/17/12): Askew pleaded guilty to one felony count of embezzlement.

John C. Sheehan, 43, of Rohnert Park, California, has been arrested for allegedly embezzling about $1 million from Bibbero Systems Inc. where he had been employed for 15 years.  The thefts reportedly spanned a 6 year period.  Sheehan has been charged with eight felony counts, including grand theft and possession of stolen property.  Meanwhile, the company has suffered financially and has reduced its staff by 50% over the past 5 years. 
Update (11/21/12): Sheehan, orginally known as John Christopher Schoenthal, was sentenced to more than 9 years in prison.  According to prosecutors, Sheehan created a fictitious company, MP Technologies, and began billing for office supplies never received.

James Ryan Lanier, 33, of Albany, Georgia was arrested San Diego, California on fraud, money laundering, and identity theft charges relating to the embezzlement of more than $800,000 in funds from Merrill Lynch clients.  According to the indictement, over a period of more than 2 years, from 2008 through 2010, Lanier transmitted fraudulent letters of authorization bearing forged client signatures to wire funds for his own benefit. 
Update (3/8/13): Lanier was sentenced to 106 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $887,931 in restitution to Merrill Lynch.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Resume Fraud Is Rampant; Do Your Due Dilignece On Key Executives

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today published an article on resume fraud featuring Marquet International and yours truly.  This is a real problem for employers seeking high quality executives as evidenced by the Yahoo! debacle (and many others).  See the Resume Liars Club at Marquet International. 

Read the article, entitled "Workzone: Inquiries on rise amid resume fraud" here.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Former Tennessee Banker Charged With Embezzling $100K

Lisa Crawford Justice, 42, of Greenbriar, Tennessee, has been charged with embezzling more than $100,000 from the now-defunct Tennessee Commerce Bank in Franklin where she had been employed as operations officer and deposit operations supervisor.  Prosecutors allege that Justice misappropriated the funds over a period of at least 2 years, from 2009 to 2011.  Developing...

Read the story here.

Mississippi Woman Sentenced For Embezzling Nearly $1 Million

Sarah K. Winters
Sarah “Katie” Winters, 32, of Tupelo, Mississippi, has been sentenced to 42 months in prison for embezzling nearly $1 million from JKL, a subsidiary of Lawrence Wholesale, and Bruce Foods Corp. where she had been employed.  Winters pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud last September related to a fraudulent billing scheme that netted $993,884.  Winters has also been ordered to pay full restitution.  Winters' co-conspirator was not identified.  Winters was originally arrested in September 2010.

Read the story here.

Former Casino HR Manager In California Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $400K

Erika M. Carlton
Erika Michelle Carlton, 38, of Roseville, California, has pleaded guilty to embezzling as much as $400,000 from the Thunder Valley Resort and Casino, which is owned by the United Auburn Indian Community.  Carlton was employed as a human resources manager at the casino.  Carlton's embezzlement scheme spanned about 4 1/2 years, from November 12, 2006 to March 9, 2011, according to prosecutors.  Carlton used a casino credit card to buy raffle prizes for employee functions, such as gift cards, electronics and consumer goods.  However, she keep or returned the gifts for cash for her own use, according to reports.  Carlton had been employed at Thunder Valley since April 2003, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Read the story here and here.

Update (2/8/13): Carlton was sentenced to 18 months in prison and ordered to pay $236,050 in restitution. 

California Authorities Investigating Possible $2 Million Embezzlement At Non-Profit

Valley Light Industries, an Irwindale, California-based non-profit set up to assist children with developmental disabilities, has reported a possible embezzlement of as much as $2 million.  Authorities are now investigating the allegations, which focus on the non-profit's former CEO, Pamela Hayes, who ran the organization for several years.  Developing...

Read the story here.

Former Oklahoma Non-Profit Director PLeads Guilty To Embezzling $1.5 Million

Wesley Scott McGinness, 65, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, has pleaded guilty to charges he embezzled more than $1.5 million from the HOW Foundation, a non-profit organization which helps men recover from drug and alcohol addiction where he had served as executive director.  According to authorities, McGinness' misappropriation schemes spanned nearly an 8 year period, from January 13, 2003 until December 14, 2010.  McGuinness reportedly wrote 213 fraudulent checks totaling $1,359,714.89 drawn on the foundation's bank accounts to pay personal credit card debts at local area casinos.  He also embezzled about $720 per week from the cash receipts of the HOW Foundation's thrift store, for an additional approximate total of $224,000.  McGinness also pleaded guilty to a charge of filing a false 2008 federal income tax return owes the IRS a total of $366,564.82 for the tax years 2006 through 2010.

Read the story here.

Update (11/9/12): McGiness was sentenced to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,584,114.89 in restitution.

Businessman Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $1 Million From Insurance Payments For Nevada Fire Victims

Massoud Aaron Yashouafar, believed to be 51, of Beverly Hills, California, has pleaded guilty to embezzling about $1 million in insurance money intended for repairs of senior residential condominium complex known as Paradise Spa in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Yahouafar, who was originally indicted last December on three counts of theft of property by false pretenses and three counts of embezzlement, faces up to 10 years in prison.  Yashouafar, who lists himself as President of Millbank Real Estate Services in Los Angeles, California, is the owner of Oklahoma City's First National Center, a troubled landmark property.  Yahouafar has reportedly been embroiled in a series of finanicial problems facing the center, including bankruptcy, foreclosures and other controversies. 

Read the story here and here.

Former Union Treasurer In Florida Suspected In $100K Embezzlement

Ron  Salerno
Ron Salerno, believed to be of Broward County, Florida has been accused by union officials of embezzling at least $100,000 from the General Association of Miramar Employees, the municipal employees union, where he had served as treasurer.  Salerno, who has not yet been charged with a crime, has reportedly been the union treasurer for at least two years and a city employee for more than 15 years with an annual salary of $53,237.80 as a city plant mechanic. 

Developing...

Read the story here.

Update (12/4/12): Salerno, now 43, was arrested for allegedly embezzling $187,000 from the union over a 2 year period.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Former Owner Of Defunct Nursing Home Sentenced For Embezzling $800K

Stanley J. Rodowicz, Jr., 57, previously of Canterbury, Connecticut and now of Wellington, Florida, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for embezzling more than $800,000 from Village Manor Health Care Inc. of Plainfield, Connecticut, a now defunct nursing home while it was in bankruptcy.  Prosecutors alleged that from 2007 to 2010, Rodowicz controlled the nursing home’s bank accounts, cash, accounts receivable and accounts payable, enabling him to siphon $817,212 from the nursing home’s accounts and falsified the books and records of the nursing home during the bankruptcy proceedings to conceal the embezzlement.  Rodowicz was also ordered to pay $495,212 in restitution after he had previously paid back about $322,000.

Read the story here.

Former Head Of California Union Indicted For Allegedly Embezzling More Than $100K

Tyrone R. Freeman
Tyrone Ricky Freeman, 42, believed to be of Valley Village, California and the former president of the Service Employees International Union's Local 6434, has been indicted on 15 counts including mail fraud, embezzlement of labor union assets and other crimes in connection with his alleged embezzlement of more than $100,000 in union funds.   Prosecutors allege that Freeman misappropriated $2,500 a month by diverting reimbursement payments from the California United Homecare Workers and transferred additional funds through the Long Term Care Housing Corporation, a not-for-profit entity intended to develop affordable housing for union members. Freeman also used union credit accounts to pay for personal expenses, including his 2006 wedding trip to Hawaii.  Finally, Freeman is charged with filing false tax returns for 2006, 2007 and 2008, failing to report nearly $100,000 in income.  Separately, Freeman's wife, Pilar C. Planells, 32, pleaded guilty to one income tax charge last month, on more than $540,000 she received in union consulting payments at her husband's direction.

Read the story here.

Update (1/29/13): Freeman was found guilty of four counts of mail fraud, seven counts of embezzlement and/or theft of labor union assets, one count of making a false statement to a federally insured financial institution, and two counts of subscribing to a false tax return.

Maine Man Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $413K From Non-Profit

Thomas D. Nelson, believed to be 56, of Alfred, Maine, has pleaded guilty to embezzling about $900,000 from the York County Community Action Corp. where he had served as chief executive officer.  According to authorities, over a period of at least 6 years, from 2004 to 2010, Nelson siphoned funds from the agency through a phony vendor schemes.  He has also agreed to pay restitution of $1.2 million as well as $150,000 in back taxes and penalties to the IRS. 

Read the story here.

Update (5/26/13): Nelson was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison. 

Major Embezzlement Cases: July 24 - 31

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating a $3.7 million embezzlement reported by First Security Bank in Malta, Montana.  The employee suspected in the long-term misappropriation scheme has not yet been named.  Developing...   
Update (8/10/12): Rhonda Lee Devries, 50, has pleaded not guilty to one count each of embezzlement by a bank officer, credit card fraud and money laundering for defrauding First Security Bank of Malta out of nearly $3.7 million over a period of nearly 12 years.  Devries allegedly set up high-limit credit accounts for phony companies she created and withdrew the funds for her own benefit.
Update (11/27/12): Devries was sentenced to 110 months in prison and ordered to pay $3,811,221.52 in restitution.

Leon E. Piepenbrink, 52, of St Paul, Minnesota, has been sentenced to one year in jail for embezzling  as much as $300,000 from the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod where he had served as a pastor.  The thefts spanned a period of about three years, from 2007 to 2010.  Piepenbrink pleaded guilty to seven counts of theft by swindle this past April.

Barbara Kaye Rechtzigel, 47, of Belview, Minnesota, has been charged with embezzling about $1 million from customer CD accounts at Minwest Bank in Marshall where she had been employed.   According to prosecutors, Rechtzigel misappropriated funds for personal use over a period of 14 years, beginning in 1998.  She has been charged with one count of embezzlement by a bank officer.  Rechtzigel and her husband, Ken Rechtzigel, are reported to be the owners of The Brauhaus in Lucan, Minnesota, which they purchased in October 2008.  Hmmm.  I wonder where they got the money to do that...
Update (8/7/12):  Rechtzigel pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement by a bank officer.
Update (1/16/13): Rechtzigel, now 48, was sentenced to 2 years in prison and ordered to pay $1,013,018.27 in restitution.

John F. Losee, 61, of Waukesha, Wisconsin, has has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $800,000 from Heim Manufacturing Corp., where he had been employed as General Manager.  Losee's scheme spanned a reorted 6 years, from April 2003 to May 2009 where he issued more than 220 checks payable to the fictitious business Losee created.  In a plea agreement, Losee pleaded guilty to federal charges of wire fraud and filing a false federal income tax return. 
Update: Losee was sentenced to 21 months in prison.  The case was first investigated in 2009.


Robert Bruist
Robert Michael Eugene “Gene” Bruist, 35, of Fort Meyers, Florida, has been charged with embezzling about $900,000 from the non-profit Center for Independent Living of Southwest Florida, where he had served as Executive Director.  Authorities allege that Bruist converted state funding, federal grants, non-profit grants and personal donations for his own use to support "an extravagant lifestyle." Sadly, the non-profit has been shuttered. 

Marti Schrauben
Marti James Schrauben, 38, of Portland, Michigan, has been charged with embezzling nearly $500,000 from customers and insurance companies while he was an employee at Schrauben-Lehman Funeral Home.  The thefts spanned a two year period from 2008 through 2010.  Schrauben has been charged with 27 felony fraud counts. 
Update (3/5/13): Schrauben pleaded guilty to felony charges of uttering and publishing and no contest to counts of forgery, uttering and publishing, insurance fraud and embezzlement of more than $50,000.

Update (3/10/15): Schrauben seeks retrial after conviction for embezzling nearly $500,000 from funeral home clients.  Read the updated story here.

Arlene Francis Spinuzzi, 58, formerly of Apple Valley, California, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for embezzling more than $415,000 in welfare funds from the San Bernardino County Welfare Department where he had been employed as a welfare eligibility worker.  The sentenced was handed down after Spinuzzi pleaded guilty to 15 felony counts of misappropriation of public funds.  Spinuzzi reportedly authorized payments to her family members for child care services that were never provided.  Her family members including her husband, Michael Kenneth Debar, 57, her father Gerald Zibell, 82, and her daughter Sarah Debar Parks, 24, were indicted on a total of 90 felony counts of grand theft and misappropriation of public funds in February 2011.  Debar pleaded guilty to seven felony counts of misappropriation of public funds and was sentenced to 10 yearss in prison.  Parks pleaded guilty to one felony count of misappropriation of public funds and received a sentence of probation.  Zibell died this past April while awaiting trial. 


Sharon M. Cutter, believed to be 50, of Methuen, Massachusetts, has been charged with embezzling more than $100,000 from St. Ann's Home and School where she had served as chief financial officer.  Over a period of more than 6 years, from July 2006 to October 2012, Cutter reportedly used the non-profit's credit cards and petty cash to purchase items for personal use.  Cutter was a 23-year veteran employee of St. Ann's, a residential program for troubled youths and an affiliate of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston


Angela Patrice Madison, 41, and Tracy Dione Jackson, 42, both of Minneapolis, Minnesota, have been charged with embezzling more than $1.6 million from ING, the international insurance and investment firm where they both worked.  Madison was responsible for handling ING clients who sought to obtain loans or surrender their life insurance policies and allegedly used the company's computer system to generate false statements in the name of various people, including Jackson.  Prosecutors allege that the two conspired to cause nearly 200 checks to be drawn on ING accounts for their own benefit.  The two have reportedly a history of filing for bankruptcy; Madison with a Chapter 7 liquidation in 2003 and Jackson with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 1997 and a Chapter 13 petition in 1998. 
Update (2/28/13): Madison was sentenced to 35 months in prison for her guilty plea on one count of aiding and abetting mail fraud.  Jackosn received 27 months for the same charge.  The fraud was comitted over a period of about 9 years from 2003 to 2012.

Walter Conkright Jr., 45, of Jamestown, New York, has been charged with embezzling more than $100,000 from the Jamestown Moose Lodge 1681 where he had served as an administrator.  He has been indicted on a single count of third-degree grand larceny.

Major Embezzlement Cases: July 16 - 23

Sarah Ann Kwasinskas
Sarah Ann Kwasinskas, 30, of Naugatuck, Connecticut is facing trial for allegedly embezzling $254,000 from Naugatuck Valley Savings & Loan, where she had been employed as a teller.   Kwasinskas was originally charged in January 2012 and faces felony larceny in the first degree.  Authorities allege that Kwasinskas transferred funds from 17 bank customer CD accounts into her teller drawer "to cover the thefts and balance her drawer."

Edelweiss Home Health Care in Maple Grove, Minnesota, has reported to authorities that it was the victim of an apparent embezzlement of at least $500,000 perpetrated by one of its employees.  Developing...
Update (1/4/13): Lori Jo Mueller, 48, of Apple Valley, Minnesota, pleaded guilty to charges she embezzled approximately $840,000 from Edelweiss Home Health Care over a period of 6 years by issuing checks to herself.  Mueller also caused more than $631,000 in fraudulent reimbursement claims from Medica, a medical insurance company.  Turns out Mueller, then known as Lori Jo Peterson, was previously convicted of financial frauds in 1992 and 1997, according to media reports.


Steven Byron Tisdale

Steven Byron Tisdale, 43, of Pfafftown, North Carolina, has been charged with embezzling more than $100,000 from the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center where he had been employed as manager of the commercial insurance collection division for 17 years.  Tisdale reportedly issued 219 checks from an insurance reimbursement account to himself worth $114,002 over a period of more than a year, from January 1, 2011 to April 1, 2012.
Update (4/4/13): Tisdale, now 44, was arrested in Las Vegas, Nevada after being a fugitive from justice.  He now faces murder charges in the death of his domestic partner, Robert B. Tisdale, 52, whose body was found in their Pfafftown home.

Brian P. Mularski, believed to be 37, of Bayside, Wisconsin has been charged with embezzling more than $737,000 from the law firm of Eisenberg, Riley & Zimmerman where he had been employed as an attorney.  According to prosecutors, over a period of nearly 3 years, from March 2006 through January 2009, Mularski deposited insurance payments into "the defendant's personal account at U.S. Bank" in the name of "Mularski Law Office."  He has reportedly repaid about $240,000 of the funds he embezzled.  Mularski has had his law license revoked. 
Update (10/25/12): Mularski pleaded guilty to one count of felony embezzlement.
Update (1/16/13): Mularski was sentenced to one year of work-release.

Deborah Shaw, believed to be 51, of Marshall County, Mississippi, has been charged with three federal counts of embezzlement for allegedly misappropriating more than $108,000 from a special benefit account for a child shot and left for dead in 2006, held at Merchants and Farmers Bank in Holly Springs, where Shaw had been a bank executive.  Court records revealed that Shaw is accused of transferring funds from the benefit account to other accounts that she owned or controlled. She is also alleged to have embezzled an additional $125,000 from the bank itself.

Jada W. Atkinson

April F. Winch
Jada Willoughby Atkinson, 42, and April Ferris Winch, 48, both of Boiling Springs Lake, North Carolina, have been charged with embezzling $115,000 from the Tidewater Dental Office in Calabash where they had been employed.  Specifically, the two were charged with embezzlement greater than or equal to $100,000, felony conspiracy and confinement.

Katherine Haddaway, believed to be 38, of Easton, Maryland, has been found guilty of 37 counts of embezzlement in connection with her misappropriation of more than a total of $335,000 from Easton Jet Services Inc., Omni Jet International Jet Trading Inc., and Four-Ten Holdings Corporation, three companies owned by Wayne Hilmer.   Haddaway, who is believed to have worked for Hilmer as a bookkeeper, stole the funds over a period of about 3 years.  Haddaway employed several different embezzlement schemes, including forging checks, ordering extra payroll checks by direct deposit from Automatic Data Processing payroll company, and paying her credit card bill some 270 times online using the company account.
Update (9/22/12): Haddaway was sentenced to a net 14 years in prison.

Major Embezzlement Cases: July 8 - 15

Jay S. Fischer, 52, of Wausau, Wisconsin, has been charged with embezzling more than $1 million from his mortgage clients at Valley Title, which he owned.  According to authorities, Fischer kept client funds intended to pay off mortgages for his own benefit.  Fischer has been charged with 25 felony counts, including racketeering, embezzlement and various tax crimes.  Note: Fischer is also facing unrelated child molestation and sexual assault charges.

Jennifer Hughes-Boyles, 40, of Topeka, Kansas, has been ordered to pay $712,145 in restitution to Heritage Bank, for which she had been employed as a vice president.  Hughes-Boyles pleaded guilty to bank fraud in connection with her misappropriation of the funds from the bank through a fraudulent loan scheme.
Update (9/10/12): Hughes-Boyles was sentenced to 30 months in prison.

An investigation into the possible embezzlement of $109,454 from the St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Edmond, Oklahoma.  A suspect has not yet been publicly named.  Developing...
Update (12/18/12): Bill Dwight Coyle, 62, of Edmond, Oklahoma, and the former business manager for the church, has been charged with eight felony counts in connection with the embezzlement.

Alice M. Foss, 50, of Springfield, Illinois, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges she embezzled at least $400,000 from Don Moss and Associates, a local consulting and lobbying firm, where she had been employed as CFO.  Foss allegedly misappropriated the funds over a 13 year period, from 1997 until 2010, by giving herself unauthorized bonuses and expense reimbursements. 

Iain Anderson, a resident of Ventura County, California has been accused in a civil suit of embezzling at least $600,000 from AND Syndicated Productions, the producer of such syndicated programs as The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and other TV shows.  Anderson is described in the suit as the "Lead Production Accountant" for several of the company's programs. The suit alleges that Anderson artificially inflated production costs and other expenses as well as requested petty cash for bogus expenses, comingling production funds with his personal bank accounts and recording bogus and false payroll transactions, plus other acts of conversion.  Read the complaint here.   Developing...

Dana Louise Sullivan, 46, of Park Township, Michigan, has been charged with embezzling at least $150,000 from Summit Properties, a local real estate firm where she had been employed.  Sullivan's thefts, which spanned at least 9 years, total as much as $500,000, according to company owner Tom Speet.  Sullivan reportedly has a prior criminal arrest for embezzlement and larceny from a financial institution in 2002.  She reached a plea agreement in that case, dropping the embezzlement charge.
Update (11/5/12): Sullivan, now 47, was sentenced to a minimum of 30 months in prison and ordered to pay $422,541 in restitution.

Kathleen Kau, of Honolulu, Hawaii, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for embezzling more than $360,000 from Transamerica Life Insurance Co. where she had been employed as an insurance agent.  According to authorities, Kau'd theft began in March 1998 and continued through June 2003, spanning more than 5 years.  Kau reportedly set up a P.O. Box and told clients that their homes were destroyed, redirecting mail to the new address.  Kau kept the insurance payments for herself. 

Andrea Lynn Hammond, 41, of Casper, Wyoming, has been arrested on felony theft charges for allegedly embezzling "a significant amount of funds" from the Family Crisis Services, Inc. for which she had served as Executive Director.  We believe that a "significant amount of funds" suggests more than $100,000.  Developing...
Update (1/14/13): Hammond pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of embezzlement of more than $20,000.  She reportedly used the non-profit's credit cards for personal use and gave herself significant unauthorized salary increases over a 3 year period.  The total amount understood to have been stolen is approximately $75,000.
Update (4/9/13): Hammond was sentenced to 4 years in prison.

Keri M. Geschke, 38, of DeForest, Wisconsin, has pleaded no contest to charges she embezzled some $123,000 from Sound Billing, where she had been employed as an accountant.  According to authorities, the thefts were discovered by Geschke's successor at the company, who found unusual deposits from the company's account to Geschke's bank account.  After the allegations surfaced in 2010, Geschke disappeared.  Read the story and see her image here.
Update (12/3/12): Geschke, now 39, has been sentenced to 4 months in prison and ordered to pay full restitution.

Elizabeth Walsh, 45, of Amherst, Massachusetts, has been charged with embezzling some $112,000 from the Amherst Pelham Education Association, for which she had served as treasurer.  The Association operates as the teachers union for the Amherst-Pelham Regional School District.  Developing...
Update (12/20/12): Walsh, now 46, pleaded guilty to felony larceny charges and was ordered to pay restitution of $116,000.  According to media accounts, Walsh wrote checks to herself over a 6 year period from 2006 to 2012.  She blamed personal financial troubles for her actions and was spared any jail time.

Taira Desart, 43, of Kalispell, Montana, has pleaded not guilty to charges she embezzled some $154,000 from Jesco Marine and Power Sports where she had served as bookkeeper for 17 years.  She has been charged with felony embezzlement and faces up to 10 years in prison.  The thefts allegedly spanned a period of about 6 and a half years.

Michael Wion, 40, of Piqua, Ohio and his assistant,Tess Cremeens, 43, of Troy, Ohio, have been charged with embezzling at least $675,000 from Repacorp where Wion was employed as Controller.  The misappropriation spanned approximately two years, according to authorities.
Update (4/24/13): Wion, 42, now of Venice, Forida, has pleaded not guilty to charges including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, conspiracy to engage in corrupt activity, aggravated theft and a dozen counts of telecommunications fraud in connection with this embezzlement.  The total thefts are now reported to be nearly $800,000.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Marjor Embezzlement Cases: July 1 - 7

Tabitha Caplinger, 41, and her husband, Jimmy Caplinger, 49, both of Bonham, Texas, have been charged with embezzling more than $200,000 from Fannin County Electric Co-Op where Tabitha had been employed as a pay clerk.  Authorities allege that Tabitha Caplinger's thefts spanned more than a 20 year period and that her husband was an accomplice in the fraud.  Developing...
Update (7/27/12): The Caplingers were both formally indicted on felony theft charges.
Update (5/3/13): Tabitha Caplinger plead guilty to felony embezzlement charges and was sentenced to seven years in state prison while her husband Jimmy Caplinger plead guilty to third degree theft and got 10 years probation.

Stephanie Kaye Cieslinski, 53, and her husband, Kenneth John Cieslinski, 54, both of Midland, Michigan, have been charged with embezzling nearly $1 million from local dentist Dr. Michael Smith for whom Stephanie had been employed for many years.  Kenneth Cieslinski, a corrections deputy at the Bay County Jail, is alleged to have played a part in the scheme by depositing funds into bank accounts the couple controlled.  Read the story and view their mugshots here.
Update (10/20/12): Stephanie Cieslinski was sentenced to 3 to 20 years in prison.  The thefts are believed to have spanned a period of at least 10 years.

Christina Heaven, 35, of Jeffersonville, Indiana, has been charged with embezzling more than $300,000 from PetFirst Healthcare, a pet insurance company, where she had been employed as an administrator.  Heaven allegedly used her boss's social security number to open a secret checking account in the PetFirst name in 2010 and then deposited checks into it from PetFirst customers totaling $314,723, withdrawing $293,703 for her own benefit.

Kimberly A. Gostomski, 39, now of Savannah, Georgia, pleaded no contest to six felony fraud counts related to her involvement in the embezzlement of more than $163,000 in client escrow funds entrusted to Patrick "Tim" McDonald, a former Rhode Island state senator and Narragansett Town Council member.  Gostomski was McDonald's secretary.  Specifically, Gostomski plead no contest to conspiracy, aiding and abetting the commission of a felony, larceny of more than $500, embezzlement of more than $100, obtaining more than $500 under false pretenses and forgery and counterfeiting.  McDonald faces six felony counts in his own criminal case.

Mawufemor Bierko, of Orange County, California, has been arrested in Wisconsin on suspicion he embezzled more than $100,000 from the Girl Scouts of Orange County.  Bierko reportedly did "some accounting work" for the Girl Scouts.  Read the story and view his mugshot here.  Developing...
Update (1/31/13): Bierko, now 35, and a former foreign exchange student from Ghana pleaded guilty to two felony counts of forgery in connection with the embezzlement of $102,479 from the Girl Scouts of Orange County.  The thefts reportedly spanned just over a year, from January 2010 through February 2011.  He was sentenced to 64 months in prison and ordered to pay full restitution.  Bierko was arrested in Wisconsin while attempting to flee the country to return to Ghana.

Debra J. Tanachion, 51, of Atwater, California, has been arrested and charged with embezzling more than $300,000 from Weimer Farms, where she had been employed as a bookkeeper. Tanachion, who had been employed by Weimer Farms since 1995, is suspected of siphoning funds since at least 2006.

Billy Cypress, believed to be 62, of West Miami-Dade, Florida and the former chairman of the Miccosukee Tribe, has been accused in a civil lawsuit of embezzling $26 million from the tribe and spending the money on numerous gambling trips, shopping sprees, real-estate investments and luxury cars.  Read the story and view Cypress' image here.

Aubrey Lee Price, 46, of Southern Georgia, has been charged with embezzling about $17 million from a bank where he had served as a director.  Price, who is being sought by authorities since he disappeared in June, had been entrusted by the bank to invest the funds on their behalf.  He has been charged with wire fraud in absentia.  Authorities are concerned that he may have fled to South America, where he has done mission work and built churches.  View Price's wanted poster here.  Read the complaint against Price here.  
Update 4/26/13: Note this looks more like an investment fraud scheme where Price has been accused of bilking investors out of $40 million and then disappearing.  He has been on the lam since June 16, 2012. 

James William Riley, 48, of Corona, California and Ryan Jay Robinson, 41, of Temecula, California, face trial for allegeldy misappropriating $4 million from the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians.   Riley was an insurance broker with Riley, Garrison & Associates and Robinson was the tribe's former CFO.  According to authorities, the two conspired to divert insurance premium payments into their personal bank accounts.  Read the story and view Riley's mugshot here.
Update (12/5/12): Riley and Robinson's first trial ended deadlocked. 

Major Embezzlement Cases: June 24 - 30

Brenda K. Smith, 37, of Lincoln, Alabama, was sentenced to 21 months in prison for embezzling nearly $129,000 from two customer accounts at Regions Bank in Lincoln where she had been employed as a branch manager.  Smith reportedly misappropriated the funds over a two year period.  She was also ordered to make full restitution. 

Robert Allen Wolcott Jr., 46, and Denise K. Wolcott, 43, husband and wife and both of Salisbury, North Carolina, have been charged with embezzling about $319,700 from Randall Andrews, the president of Alchem Inc., where they were both employed.  They have been arrested on felony fraud charges as well as assorted drug related charges.  Read the story and see their mugshots here.

Ava L. Ramey, 61, of Bowie, Maryland, pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $379,000 from the United Government Security Officers of America Local 21 over a period of four years, from 2005 through 2009, where she had served as a Union Trustee.  Ramey reportedly wrote numerous checks to herself and to "cash" as well as used the union's debit card to withdraw hundreds of dollars in cash from ATMs at casinos and racetracks in Delaware, Pennsylvania and Florida. 
Update (1/7/13): Ramey was sentenced to to two years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for embezzling at least $379,000 and ordered to pay restitution and forfeiture of $379,000.
Glen Guin, believed to be 44 of Minden, Louisiana, is suspected of embezzling more than $100,000 from the Webster Parish Coroner Office, where he had been employed as bookkeeper.  Details are scant at this time.
Update (8/7/12): Guin, aka Bobby Glen Guin, was formally indicted on malfeasance and felony theft charges.  The total amount believed to have been embezzled amounted to $93,000, slightly less that what was originally believed.
 
Bonnie Michelle Denning, 39, of Alva, Florida, has been charged with embezzling $818,339.37 from Easy Picker Golf Products Inc. where she had been employed as bookkeeper.  Denning allegedly made $411,387 in personal purchases with the company debit card as well as 54 unauthorized wire transfers totaling $358,885.50.  She also alletedly wrote at least one check from company accounts to pay for home improvements.

Lisa Winters, 48, believed to be of New York City, has been accused of embezzling $338,674 from Bronx Community Pride, a local LGBT resource center where she had served as executive director.  She has been charged with grand larceny and falsifying business records.  Winters ran the non-profit, which receives city funding, for a period of 6 years.  She reportedly used some of the misappropriated funds to support a lavish lifestyle, including a $25,000 month long trip to South Africa with her wife.  Read the story and see her image here.
Update (4/2/13): Winters, now 49, was sentenced to two concurrent terms of two to six years in prison.  

Brian E. Tyler believed to be of Winchester, Kentucky, has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $111,000 East Kentucky Employees Federal Credit Union where he had been employed as a manager.  Authorities allege that over a period of two years, beginning in 2009, Tyler siphoned funds from the credit unit by setting up a secret account that he controlled for his own benefit. 
Update (1/31/13): Tyler, now 41, was sentenced to one year in prison, five years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $104,684.81.

Kristi Osborne, 46, of Washington State, has been sentenced to 33 months in prison for embezzling $304,755 from three accounts she oversaw at the Frances Haddon Morgan Center where she had been employed as a fiscal analyst.  The thefts reportedly spanned more than 7 yeras, from 2003 until November 2010.  Osborne, who pleaded guilty this past January, forged documents and submitted false requests for funds supposedly for the benefit of the center's residents.  She also reportedly inflated the amounts that had been requested and used unwitting third parties to cash the checks and return the funds to her.

Ryan P. Homa, 38, of Green Bay, Wisconsin, has pleaded guilty to charges he embezzled nearly $1.3 million over a four year period from Robinson Metals, Inc. where he had been employed.  Homa reportedly wrote checks on company accounts to a phony company he created and controlled and then used the money to buy real estate, build a house, and save for his children’s college educations.
Update (10/9/12): Homa was sentenced to 46 months in prison for embezzling what is now understood to be $1.76 million.

Marcella L. Arrington, 45, of Ashland, Oregon, has been indicted on charges she embezzled more than $100,000 from Body Support Systems Inc., where she had been employed as a bookkeeper.  The thefts reportedly spanned a 4 1/2 year period. 

Heather Kathleen Denning, 37, of Reno, Nevada, and her husband, Eric Denning, 40, have been charged with embezzling more than $500,000 from Quadrant Information Services where Heather had been employed as office manager.  Details are scant at this time.  Developing...  Read the story and view their mugshots here.
Update (2/28/13): Heather Denning was sentenced to 20 years in the Nevada State Prison after pleading guilty to two counts of felony theft.  According to prosecutors, "from September 2008 until April of 2012, Denning created fake billing invoices and issued company checks to pay those fake bills to her husband, Eric Denning. Denning would then transfer the money from her husband’s account to hers for her own personal use. Over that period of time, Denning issued over 150 checks for a total theft amount of $508,520."
Sheila Kaye Jameson, 55, of Blandon, Pennsylvania, has been charged with felony counts of mail fraud and filing false tax returns in connection with his alleged embezzlement of approximately $1.8 million from EnerSys Corporation, where he had been employed as a Logistics Analyst.  Jameson allegedly set up a phony vendor company, Aries Consulting Group, to which she funnelled money through fraudulent invoices submitted for payment.
Update (1/11/13): Jameson was sentenced to 4 years in prison and ordered to pay full restitution. 

Belinda K. Barnett, 45, who died of smoke inhilation at her mobile home in the Paradise Lakes, Washington area last month, was suspected of embezzling $100,000 from her unnamed employer where she had worked as a bookkeeper.  The fire and the circumstances of Barnett's death are under investigation.  No charges were filed in the alleged embezzlement case.
Update (6/29/12): Media reports indicate that Barnett had been employed by Swans Moving and Storage in Bellingham, Washington.  The amount embezzled is reported to be $106,000 which was taken over a 2 year period.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Major Embezzlement Cases: June 15 - 23

Mary M Sheedy, 49, of Morrisonville, Illinois, pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $60,000 from the Morrisonville State Bank, a division of Wemple State Bank, where she had been employed as a branch manager.  Sheedy reportedly embezzled a total of $235,000, but paid back about $172,000.
 
Jonathan Neal Leber, 36, of Glasgow , Kentucky, has been indicted on federal charges for allegedly embezzling nearly $2.5 million from clients of his at Intrepid Financial Strategies.  Leber reportedly took investor monies for his own benefit and invested some in his new business, Cedar Ridge Shooting Ride Academy.  He has also been indicted on state forgery charges. 
Update (6/29/12): Leber was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

John R. Garris, 46, of Beckley, West Virginia, was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for embezzling nearly $100,000 from First Citizens Bank where he had been employed as a financial services manager.   Garries reportedly set up fraudulent loans and pocked the proceeds for his own benefit.   The amount embezzled is believed to be as much as $99,175.

Christina Denny, 44, of Lafayette, Indiana, has been charged on 10 felony counts for allegedly embezzling more than $100,000 from the Lafayette Glass Company spanning a period of about 11 years.  Denny had been a "trusted" 19 year employee of the company.

Patricia Smith, 58, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been sentenced to 6 1/2 years in jail for embezzling more than $10 million from Baierl Acura where she had been employed as company controller.  Smith reportedly spent the money to support a lavish lifestyle including "luxury trips, extravagant presents and once-in-a-lifetime experiences."  Smith, who was found guilty of wire fraud, reportedly made more than 800 fraudulent transfers from company accounts to her own accounts over a period of 7 years.

Christopher Grover Head, 44, of Arlington, Texas, has been indicted on charges he embezzled more than $250,000 from Wells Fargo Bank in Fort Worth where he had been employed as a personal banker.  Head allegedly used his access to transfer large sums of money to a fraudulent account he controlled.

Amy R. Eyler, 48, of Taneytown, Maryland has been charged with embezzling $118,000 from PNC Bank in Adams County, Pennsylvania where she had been employed as an assistant manager.  The thefts reportedly spanned a 4 years period from 2007 through 2011.

Mary Marra, 44, of Woodridge, Illinois, pleaded guilty to two felony counts for embezzling about $550,000 from a local law firm run by attorney Justin Tedrowe, where she had been employed as a legal secretary.  Marra reportedly wrote checks from firm and client accounts for her own benefit over a period of at least 5 years.
Update (9/10/12): Marra was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Elizabeth Ann Masters, 44, of Aguanga, California, has been charged with embezzling 5.74 million from PROformance Apparel in San Marcos where she had been employed as a  bookkeeper.  According to authorities, Masters forged more than 700 company payroll checks and deposited them into her personal bank accounts.  She reportedly used some of the misappropriated funds to purchase a horse ranch in Aguanga.  Masters was arrested in New Mexico after apparently attempting to evade authorities.  She had disappeared in March after the thefts were revealed in an audit. 
Update (7/10/12): Masters has plead not guilty to the charges.
Update (4/15/13): Masters, now 45, was sentenced to 9 years in state prison.  Proformance Apparel reportedly did not survive as a business, which had to lay off its 90 employees as a result of Masters' thefts.

Sheila Marie Wright, 52, of Lynchburg, Virginia, pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $364,000 from customer accounts at Bank of the James where she had been employed as a branch manager.  Wright reportedly stole the money to feed a gambling habit.  She had been an 8 1/2 employee of the bank.
Update (9/26/12): Wright was sentenced to 33 months in prison and ordered to pay $364,894.76 in restitution.

Catching Up

We have been very busy at Marquet International and have not given FraudTalk the attention it requires this past month and a half.  So we are going to try to catch up and get these stories out as best we can.  To do so efficiently, we are going to give shorter briefs on a number of cases in each blog post until we are up to date.  Please bear with us.

- Chris

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Turn The Ship Around - The Number 1 Business Leadership Book On Amazon

I highly recommend a brand new book called Turn the Ship Around!, which is an insightful treatise on leadership for any organization at all staff levels.  It presents a new leadership paradigm for enterprises big and small seeking to be successful.  The book is written by my brother, Captain L. David Marquet (USN- Ret.) based upon his experience as a nuclear submarine captain.  The book has a foreword by the recent late great Stephen Covey.  It is currently the number one book on business leadership on Amazon.com.  Get it, read it and spread the word.

Chris