Monday, March 5, 2012

Washington State Man Accused Of Embezzling Nearly $1.1 Million From Public Utility

Joseph Phan, 44, of Seattle, Washington, has been arrested and charged with embezzling Nearly $1.1 million from the Seattle Public Utilities for which he had been employed as a project engineer.  According to authorities, over a period of about 5 years, beginning in 2006 and continuing through January 2011, Phan took customer payments for water main extensions and repairs and deposited them into an account he created and controlled for his own benefit.  Phan reportedly used the ill-gotten gains to purchase a rental property, a car, pay off credit card debts and other personal expenditures.  In 1993, Phan changed his name from Chau Phan to Joseph Phan.  Phan reportedly had access to customer-service accounts so he could research and issue water-availability certifications to property owners and developers.  In 2010 he reportedly credited his own account twice which apparently triggered the audit focus on his dealings.  He had been employed by the City of Seattle since 1995 but was fired in early 2011 when the irregularity came to light. 

Read the story here and here.

Hat tip: FraudTalk reader Julie

Update (1/17/14): Phan was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison after having plead guilty to 67 counts of first-degree theft last September.

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