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)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How is one able to find out what happened in a particular case?