Monday, December 29, 2014

Whistleblower Helps Stop $1.2 Million Embezzlement At Pennsylvania Defense Contractor

From the Daily Times on 12/23/2014:

The Glenolden woman who blew the whistle on cheating military contractor Kenneth Narzikul said she is satisfied her actions put an end to his embezzlement scheme which cost U.S. taxpayers some $1.2 million.
“I’m actually proud of the fact I was able to put a stop to it,” Amy Farrow said in a recent interview. “So often people let things slide and look the other way. If I had just quit, I knew things would just continue the way they were.”
Farrow, 42, worked for Narzikul at NP Precision, a Folcroft-headquartered military contractor that did more than $30 million in business with the U.S. government. NP primarily had contracts with the Department of Defense to provide critical flight safety parts for U.S. military helicopters.

In March 2012, Farrow filed a civil complaint against Narzikul and his wife, Sandra Rosch Narzikul, who kept the company’s books and was once its chief financial officer. The complaint was filed under the federal False Claims Act, which makes it illegal to deceive the federal government for financial gain.
The law allows whistleblowers to file suit on behalf of the government and to receive a share of the proceeds if they prevail in court. It also provides damages for any illegal punishment of whistleblowers, such as workplace retaliation or firing.
Farrow’s complaint led to a federal criminal investigation. Farrow cooperated with investigators and in August, Narzikul pleaded guilty to stealing about $1.2 million in progress payments the federal government paid NP Precision under two contracts to produce drive shaft couplings for the U.S. Army Chinook helicopter. No criminal charges were filed against his wife.
Narzikul, who owned 85 percent of the company, admitted he failed to pay subcontractors and requested progress payments for costs the business had not incurred. As a result, many of the military aircraft were not completed or were completed late.
This was not Narzikul’s first run-in with law enforcement. In 1993, when he was CEO of Tura Machine Co. Inc., he was convicted of paying more than $200,000 in kickbacks in return for government subcontracts. Instead of the possible maximum sentence of 10 years and a $500,000 fine, he was given a slap on the wrist — four months house arrest and 400 hours of community service.
“He was proud of the fact he got off with a few months of house arrest,” Farrow said.
Despite his conviction, Narzikul’s new company, NP, was awarded more than $30 million in government contracts.
Narzikul hired Farrow as his administrative assistant in 2010. In April 2011, she was promoted to office manager and received a pay increase. Among her tasks was responding to vendors regarding payments and payroll.
“I knew something was amiss within a few months of my employment,” she said.
But it wasn’t until she was asked to assist with an audit conducted by the Defense Contract Audit Agency that she discovered the full extent of the fraud.
“It was obvious to myself, as well as other employees, that Ken and his wife operated the company fraudulently,” Farrow said. “They billed for things that were not done and falsified records.”
According to the suit, Narzikul and Rosch perpetuated the embezzlement scheme by presenting forged progress payment checks to DCAA. Instead of the checks going to subcontractors, the funds went “directly to Narzikul himself or his shell corporations and partnerships,” the court documents states.
Farrow spotted numerous acts of intentional fraud, embezzlement and breach of contract and began to “meticulously” document what was described in the court document as the “ongoing, escalating and shocking misconduct she witnessed.”
When Narzikul realized Farrow was investigating his actions, he demoted her by making her an “independent contractor” and said he intended to phase out her position. She resigned in April 2012.
Farrow’s civil case, originally filed under seal in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, was unsealed on Nov. 14.
On Dec. 17, a federal judge entered a $3.6 million civil judgment against NP and Narzikul and a $20,000 judgement against his wife. The Narzikuls, who reside in the 600 block of North Heilbron Drive in Media, agreed to the orders and did not dispute their liability, according to Farrow’s attorneys.
Attorneys for Narzikul and Rosch declined to comment.
“Amy’s strong moral compass is directly responsible for bringing this criminal — a repeat offender against American taxpayers — to justice,” said David L. Scher of the Employment Law Group and lead attorney on the case. “Her testimony and the evidence she courageously brought to light, were crucial to the government’s victory in both the criminal and civil cases.”
While under the whistleblower statute Farrow is eligible to receive 20 percent of the damages, she doesn’t anticipate receiving a dime.
“There is nothing to recover,” she said. “The judgment is basically just on paper, but that’s fine. The reason I came forward was just the principal of it.”
When she first decided to go forward with the allegations of wrongdoing against NP, Farrow feared there would repercussions and a potential impact on her career.

...

Read the whole story here.

Ohio Man Sentenced In $2.9 Million Embezzlement Case; Theft Spanned A 16 Year Period

From the Morning Journal on 12/24/2014:

A Sheffield Lake man was sentenced Dec. 23 to nearly six years behind bars after his conviction for embezzling $2.9 million from a health insurance company he had worked for.

According to court documents filed with the U.S. District Court in Cleveland, Joseph Satava III, 69, was sentenced to five years and 10 months in federal prison on one count of theft or embezzlement in connection with health care. Satava pleaded guilty Oct. 22.

In addition to his prison sentence, Satava was ordered to serve three years of probation post-release and to pay $2.9 million in restitution.

According to a previous news release from the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, Satava embezzled the money from Medical Mutual over 16 years, from August 1997 to November 2013.
Satava, who started working for the company in 1971, had the “authority and managerial discretion” to request and approve checks in amounts up to $5,000 while he served as manager of credit and collections for 20 years, according to the release.
During this time, he created reimbursement checks he could embezzle, steal and convert for his own personal use, the release adds.
The release also stated that Satava reviewed weekly printouts of the company’s accounts receivable trial balance statements and would identify new companies who signed contracts for insurance coverage. With the information he concluded, Satava would select between two and four companies from this printout that made binder payments under $5,000 and create a reimbursement check in the exact amount of each respective customer check submitted to the company.
To conceal his crimes, Satava charged the checks to an account that handled several billions of dollars of revenue each year. Satava would then negotiate the check by forging the name of the payee appearing on the reimbursement check and countersigned his own name beneath the forged one.
He used ATMs to deposit the checks into his own personal bank account to avoid scrutiny from bank officials, the release said.
Satava was believed to have forged, countersigned and deposited at least 1,382 reimbursement checks while at Medical Mutual.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Oklahoma Woman Sentenced To 2 Years For Embezzling $168K

From the DOJ on 12/11/2014

CARLA JO MIRES, of Oklahoma City, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Joe Heaton to serve 24 months in federal prison for embezzling money from her employer by forging checks and for filing a false tax return, announced Sanford C. Coats, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma. Mires was also ordered to pay $168,386.89 in restitution to the IRS and the victims of her embezzlement scheme.

Mires worked for Union Mutual Insurance Company in the accounting office. She was charged with forging a check from Union Mutual that went to Mires’ personal account. Mires also filed a false tax return for 2008 by failing to report as income the money she had embezzled from her employer. Mires was charged by information on August 14, 2014. She pled guilty on September 3, 2014, and agreed to pay restitution to the IRS and for all the losses sustained by the victims relates to her embezzlement scheme. At the sentencing hearing, Judge Heaton ordered Mires to serve three years of supervised release after she completes her 24-month prison term. She was ordered to report to the Bureau of Prisons on January 13, 2015, to begin serving her prison sentence.

...

Michigan Man Sentenced For Embezzling $200K From School District

From the Lansing State Journal on 12/20/2014:

Robert Davis, a self-proclaimed reformer who rallied against corruption in government in a series of lawsuits, is going to prison for 18 months for the same types of crimes he railed against.

U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow handed down the sentence after concluding that Davis abused the public trust and acted out of greed by embezzling $200,000 from the financially strapped Highland Park public school district while serving on the school board.

Tarnow stressed that he punished Davis not for filing lawsuits, but for stealing from the public while in a position of trust.

“That’s really the crime here ... it’s not like Robin Hood where you’re robbing from the rich. It’s robbing from the poor. It’s Highland Park. I drive through there everyday,” said Tarnow, who admonished Davis for his actions. “It’s public property that you took. You took it from a system that couldn’t afford it, and you took it because of your standing in the community. ... Selfishness is a good reason to describe why you’re here. Greed is another. It was easy.”

Moreover, Tarnow said, Davis should have known better.

Davis was well-educated, raised by a supportive mother who taught him to be honest, had a loyal following and was on his “way to greatness,” Tarnow said.

Davis, who got choked up when he spoke and needed a tissue at one point to wipe his face, admitted he messed up and apologized to many — his family, the public and the court.

“I stand before you today a changed and humbled man,” Davis told the judge. “I am ashamed, embarrassed and remorseful for the mistakes I made. ... I abused the public trust and for that I sincerely apologize to the city of Highland Park.”

Davis added: “I have no one to blame but myself.”

Tarnow asked him why he did what he did.

“I did it because I was selfish and I was trying to be the political star on the rise,” Davis answered.
Davis pleaded guilty in September to embezzlement and fraud.

He admitted that he used his position as a school board member and president to have school checks written to two companies, which then funneled the money to Davis, who used the funds for personal expenses.

In addition to prison time, Davis also has to pay restitution to the Highland Park School District. An exact amount has not yet been determined.

...

Read the whole story here.

Former University of Louisville Medical School Official in Kentucky Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $2.8 Million

From Louisville Business First on 12/19/2014:

The former executive director of the Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine at the University of Louisville School of Medicine has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to a seven count federal indictment, including charges of theft, bribery, money laundering, mail fraud and filing false federal income tax returns.

According to a news release from Acting U.S. Attorney John E. Kuhn Jr., Perry Chadwick Vaughn admitted to diverting contractual checks and patient payments to the University Family and Geriatric Medicine Associates account, then withdrawing $2.8 million for his personal use and benefit.

Vaughn admitted that from January 2007 through August 2013, he defrauded the Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine and its affiliated private physician practice groups, according to the release. To conceal the theft, he created false bank reconciliations and false bank statements, the release said.

The Courier-Journal reports that under a plea bargain, Vaughn, 36, would serve 64 months in prison and pay $2,801,201 in restitution if Senior U.S. District Judge Charles R. Simpson imposes the recommended sentence. Simpson set sentencing for March 12, according to the report.

Massachusetts Woman Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $350K From Condo Association

From WickedLocal.com on 12/19/2014:

A Waltham woman admitted over the summer to embezzling about $350,000 from a condominium complex, according to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office. Lesley A. Correa pleaded guilty to three counts of larceny over $250 in connection with embezzling $350,000 from the Glen Meadow Condominium Association, which runs the Glen Meadow condo complex in Waltham, according to the DA’s office. Middlesex Superior Court Judge Sandra Hamlin, on Sept. 24, sentenced Correa to one to four years of probation, the DA’s office said. The judge also barred Correa from working in the financial field and from handling money in a work setting. In addition, probation officers must approve any of Correa’s future jobs. The judge also ordered Correa to continue mental health counseling. Correa was ordered to pay $367,338 in restitution, the DA’s office said. A jury found Preston Correa, Lesley’s ex-husband and the complex’s superintendent, not guilty of three counts of larceny over $250 in connection with Lesley’s crimes, according to the DA’s office. The jury returned its verdict on Sept. 30. The DA charged Preston in August 2012 with helping Lesley steal from the association. Specifically, prosecutors alleged Preston signed several checks for contracting work, but the work was never performed. The checks were meant to cover the embezzlement, according to the DA’s office. Lesley Correa was originally charged in August 2012. Investigators said Correa began stealing from the association in June 2010. In August 2011, Correa started delaying giving financial records to the association’s accountant. The accountant later discovered charges had been made to the accounts to pay for things not associated with the association. Correa used association money to pay utility bills, cable television bills and expenses for family members, according to the DA’s office. Correa allegedly used PayPal to divert association money and use it at restaurants, jewelry stores and gas stations, beauty shops, massages and a trip to Mohegan Sun casino. She also allegedly used the funds to pay for trips to California and West Virginia. The condo association fired both Lesley and Preston Correa in January 2012.

Georgia Man Sentenced For $25 Million Bankfraud & Kickback Scheme

From WALB on 12/19/2014:

A Bainbridge man will spend two years in prison and pay more than $25 million in restitution for bank fraud according to his federal court sentence.

Larry Malone, 59, was sentenced in Albany federal court on Tuesday. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and accepting bribes and kickbacks.

Prosecutors said Malone was the Chief Lending Officer with Southwest Georgia Farm Credit at the time of the offenses.

According to an investigation, Malone made fraudulent loans from 2001 to 2008 to a variety of borrowers in Georgia and Florida totalling $25,540,896. He also received approximately $900,000 in bribes and kickbacks from those borrowers.

Arizona Insurance Agent Embezzles $400K In Insurance Premiums; Runs for Congress; Father Helps Make Restitution

From Property Casualty 360 on 12/19/14:

Although Congressmen write law, they are not above it. Former Arizona Congressman Richard Renzi learned this lesson the hard way when he was convicted by a jury on charges of conspiracy, honest-services fraud, extortion, money laundering, making false statements to insurance regulators, and racketeering. In U.S. v. Renzi, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal was asked to reverse convictions for blatant insurance fraud by using clients funds held in trust to fund Renzi’s successful campaign for Congress.

The evidence showed that Renzi, who owned and operated an insurance agency, misappropriated clients’ insurance premiums to fund his congressional campaign, and lied to insurance regulators and clients to cover his tracks. Finally, the evidence established that Renzi used his insurance business as an enterprise to conduct a pattern of racketeering activity by diverting clients’ insurance premiums for his personal use, facilitating an extortionate land transfer, and laundering its proceeds.

Renzi owned and operated Renzi & Co. (R & C), an insurance agency specializing in obtaining insurance coverage for non-profit organizations and crisis pregnancy centers. On Dec. 10, 2001, Renzi publicly announced his candidacy for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives serving Arizona’s First Congressional District. The very next day, Renzi began diverting cash from R & C to fund his congressional campaign. Between December 2001 and March 2002, Renzi transferred more than $400,000 from insurance premiums paid to R & C to his “Rick Renzi for Congress” account. To avoid campaign disclosure regulations, Renzi claimed the money as a personal loan to the Renzi campaign. But most of the diverted funds were directly traceable to insurance premiums R & C had collected from clients.
Because R & C no longer had the money, Renzi did not pay the broker to fund the insurance for his clients. Two months later, Safeco—showing amazing patience—warned R & C that it planned to cancel R & C’s policies for nonpayment.

A month later Safeco began sending cancellation notices to R & C’s clients. With cancellation notices in hand, worried clients began calling R & C. Renzi dictated a letter sent to clients later that month. The letter stated that, because “spiritual counseling was no longer covered” under Safeco’s policy, R & C had “replaced” Safeco with the “Jimcor Insurance Co.” The letter promised that clients would experience “no lapse in coverage.” Jimcor is not an insurance company (While Jimcor Agency was a broker for some of R & C’s policies, Jimcor was not a broker for these particular ones. And although Jimcor Agency was a broker, it was not an insurer.) The new certificates Renzi sent were entirely fabricated. Renzi caused at least 74 letters and phony insurance certificates to be delivered, but only to clients who had called R & C to voice concern.

On November 5, 2002, Renzi was elected to the House of Representatives. A few weeks later, Renzi received a $230,000 gift from his father. That same day, R & C paid the full amount due and Safeco decided to retroactively reinstate all of R & C’s policies.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Season's Greetings From Marquet International & Fraud Talk

Season's Greetings & Happy New Year from Marquet International and Fraud Talk

Former Employee Of Alabama College Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $186K From School

From al.com on 12/19/2014:

A former Spring Hill College employee has pled guilty to embezzling more than $180,000 from the school.

According to court records, as the student accounts director Tracie Lawrence stole about $186,463 from Spring Hill College by electronic transfers from the school to her personal bank account.

To hide the theft, court records state Lawrence altered accounting records.

The embezzlement occurred from about January 13, 2010 until June 16, 2014.

On Dec. 8 Lawrence pled guilty to wire fraud and could face 20 years of imprisonment, a fine of no more than $250,000, a term supervised release of three years which would follow any terms of imprisonment, mandatory special assessment of $100 and restitution ordered by the court.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Lawrence worked at the college from Sept. 1999 to July 2014.

Read the whole story here.

Municipal Embezzlement Investigation in Idaho Referred to the US Attorney

From the Bonner County Daily Bee on 12/21/2014:

An investigation into the alleged embezzlement of money from the City of Athol, [Idaho] has essentially wrapped, and the evidence has been given to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

“Our investigation into the matter is complete,” said Kootenai County Sheriff Lt. Stu Miller. “The case has been referred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for review and possible prosecution.”

Traci Whelan said the U.S. Attorney’s office has received the investigation from the sheriff’s office and the U.S. Secret Service, however it cannot comment on an active investigation.
No charges have been filed in the case yet.

...

Note: this means that the loss is likely to be greater than $100,000.


Update (2/9/15): Read the update of this story hereSally Hansen has been charged with embezzling $417,879 from the city between 2009 and 2014.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The 2013 Marquet Report on Embezzlement Has Been Released

The long overdue 2013 Marquet Report on Embezzlement has finally been released.  A huge amount of effort went into getting this report completed.  The report is chock-a-block with information, statistics and analysis.  We trust that it adds to the knowledgebase around the issue of employee theft.

 Some interesting findings in the 2013 report include:
  • 2013 highest rate of employee theft in 6 years of publishing this report;
  • Vermont tops list of highest risk states for 2013; DC, WV, MT & SD follow Vermont, respectively;
  • Financial institutions, government entities and non-profits hardest hit;
  • Gambling addiction seen as a factor;
  • Credit Unions continue to be frequent victims; and,
  • Forged/unauthorized checks most common scheme employed by embezzlers.
We must thank Dr. Kelly Richmond Pope, associate professor at the School of Accountancy and MIS at DePaul University, along with her graduate-level forensic accounting class, Principles of Forensic Accounting.  Dr. Pope and her 40+ graduate students worked tirelessly this past semester to help us gather the data necessary to publish The 2013 Marquet Report on Embezzlement.  Without Dr. Pope and her students’ assistance, we may not have been able to produce this year’s report.  Dr. Pope, an expert in white collar fraud in her own right, is the creator of the award winning educational white-collar crime documentary Crossing the Line: Ordinary People Committing Extraordinary Crime and the upcoming documentary All the Queen’s Horses which chronicles the major embezzlement case involving Rita Crundwell and the town of Dixon, Illinois.  I recommend everyone check these out.

Go to http://www.marquetinternational.com/reports.htm and register for access to this report and all of our other white papers, including the prior Marquet Embezzlement Reports or e-mail us at info@marquetinternational.com.    We encourage feedback, comments, questions, constructive criticisms and suggestions.

Tennessee Woman Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $135K

From The Tennessean on 12/18/2014:

A Lebanon woman has pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud and one count of making a false statement to an agent with the U.S. Secret Service in an embezzlement scheme.

Bianca Thompson, 42, is facing up to 25 years in prison after admitting to a scheme to embezzle more than $135,000 from her employer and a client, and lying to the U.S. Secret Service about her actions, according to a Department of Justice news release.

Thompson said while working at Performance Food Group Customized Distribution in Lebanon, she falsely told a client that PFG had made a mistaken payment of more than $135,000 and instructed the client to wire that amount to Thompson’s personal bank account. Thompson converted the funds for personal use, including reducing her personal debts, according to the release.

Thompson also admitted that she concealed from PFG that she had instructed a second client to wire funds to her personal account and that she then used those funds personally.

When confronted about her conduct by the U.S. Secret Service, she lied to agents and said she transferred the funds received from one PFG client to another and said she had not spent any of the funds, according to the release.

She is scheduled for sentencing on March 15.
__________

Here is a more complete story: http://www.lebanondemocrat.com/article/crime/542881  Bianca Annamarie Thompson allegedly also stole $35,000 from a local youth soccer league.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Texas Man Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $1.7 Million; Spends Loot On Strippers, Escorts & Gambling

From the San Antonio Express-News  on 12/17/2014:

Of the $1.7 million that Bexar Waste employee Michael Dennehy embezzled from the company, most of it went to escorts and gambling, he admitted Wednesday in federal court.

His admission appears to have set the unofficial record in San Antonio held by defendants who spent ill-gotten gains on prostitutes or strippers, some observers have noted. Dennehy, 41, pleaded guilty to a single count of bank fraud, admitting that he forged numerous company checks over six years.

Defense attorney Alan Brown said his client, who is married with five children, succumbed to urges he could not control.

“He did spend it on gambling and on escort services, as the (feds) allege,” Brown said. “I think those are big addictions. He feels remorse and wants to make amends for it.”

Confronted with forged checks and explicit images of his torrid encounters, Dennehy agreed to plead guilty before the FBI and federal prosecutors took his case to a grand jury for indictment, records show. He faces a maximum of 30 years in federal prison when Senior U.S. District Judge David Alan Ezra sentences him March 9.

An FBI affidavit said Bexar Waste hired Dennehy in 2004 as a truck stocker and recycler. In 2008, he was promoted to a position managing accounts payable and began writing checks to himself of $1,200 to $1,800, depositing them into his personal bank accounts, the affidavit said. He also wrote company checks to pay his American Express bills and began stealing larger amounts of money as time went on, the affidavit said.

He used a stamp to forge authorized signatures on the checks and changed the name of the payees in QuickBooks to conceal that the money had gone to him, the affidavit said. The fraud was not detected until this past August, the affidavit said.

Dennehy’s spending spree eclipsed that of Todd C. Seward, who pleaded guilty Nov. 19 to bank fraud and identity theft and admitted that he spent most of the $400,000 he embezzled from a former employer on strippers.

...

Read the whole story here.

Update (12/21/2014): Most of the $1.7 million spent on gambling, according to court testimony.  Read the update here.

Former Marketing Director Of Security Software Company Pleads Guilty To Embezzling More Than $1 Million

From SFGate.com on 12/17/2014:

A former marketing director for antivirus software maker Symantec has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $1 million to fund a lifestyle that included vacations in Las Vegas, Hawaii and Florida, authorities said Wednesday.

Lena “Mickey” Jacobs Coombs, 48, of Highland, Utah, entered her plea Tuesday to a single count of wire fraud in U.S. District Court in San Jose. She had originally been indicted on 26 counts of wire fraud and 10 counts of money laundering. She will be sentenced April 1 by Judge Lucy Koh.
Investigators said she stole from the Mountain View company from 2010 to 2012.

She was fired two years ago from her position in Lindon, Utah, a Symantec spokesman has said.
Authorities said Coombs used American Express cards issued by Symantec to pay for personal expenses, including car payments, home remodeling, concerts, child care and a trip to the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis.

She used company credit cards at hotels in Waikiki Beach and Kapalua, Hawaii; Las Vegas; and at Walt Disney World in Orlando, the indictment said.

She was able to steal the funds by creating a company in Utah called Dart Marketing and Events and falsely claiming that the company had completed marketing activities on Symantec's behalf, authorities said.

She hid her connection to Dart Marketing and falsely told co-workers that another person ran that firm, authorities said.

$100 K Embezzlement From Local Illinois Police Union Cuts Into Charity Giving

From Pantograph.com on 12/17/2014:

The alleged theft of about $100,000 from the union representing McLean County sheriff's deputies means causes such as holiday food baskets for families in need and mentoring services for children won't receive their usual funding.
 
In early August, officers with the McLean County Deputies Fraternal Order of Police No. 176 discovered an alleged embezzlement that wiped out its bank account, Deputy Jeremy Bradley said Tuesday.

"We were depleted," said Bradley, union president since January 2014.

Sheriff Jon Sandage confirmed that an employee suspected of involvement in the matter resigned Aug. 15, and the Bloomington Police Department was asked to investigate.

State's Attorney Jason Chambers said his office recently received investigative reports for review.
The loss has forced Big Brothers Big Sisters of McLean County to scale back its expenses for mentoring programs for the 250 children its serves, said Corey Burrows, chief program officer.

""It's not just our organization as an agency that suffers but our clients,"  said Burrows.

...

Read the whole story here.

Virginia Woman Sentenced For Embezzling $129K

From the News Leader on 12/15/2014:

A former administrative assistant at a Fishersville doctor's office will spend five years in prison after pleading guilty Monday to stealing more than $129,000 during a three-year period.

Trudie L. Boggs, 46, was convicted on 47 counts of embezzlement in Augusta County Circuit Court.
Gambling, she said, was to blame.

Boggs is a former employee at Augusta Health Neurological Associates. In the summer of 2011, Boggs took business checks from the doctor's office and began writing checks to herself. The thefts continued unabated for three years, according to A. Lee Ervin, the Augusta County Commonwealth's Attorney.

"There were 47 instances of this," Ervin said.

Ervin said Boggs would get copies of the checks from the bank and used correction fluid to hide her name. She would then write the name of a vendor on the checks in an attempt to hide the thefts "so the balance would add up."

Ervin said the scheme unraveled when a doctor checking a payment came across one of the altered checks. An audit was ordered and the discrepancies were soon uncovered.

Given a chance to address the court on Monday, Boggs apologized to the "practice and the doctors."
Boggs said she didn't want to make excuses for the thefts, but admitted, "I had a gambling addiction."
In a plea agreement with the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, she was sentenced to 40 years in prison with 35 years suspended. She also was placed on 35 years of probation and was ordered to pay a total of $129,099 in restitution.

Boggs will remain free through the holidays, but was ordered to report to Middle River Regional Jail on Jan. 2 to await transfer to the Virginia Department of Corrections.

Pennsylvania Couple Charged With Embezzling $105K From Volunteer Fire Department

From the Observer-Reporter on 12/16/2014:

A couple who once controlled the bank account of a volunteer fire department in Centerville enjoyed vacations on cruise ships, trips to casinos and making thousands of dollars of other purchases at the expense of the organization, police allege in court documents.
The accusations led to the Tuesday arrests of Thomas S. Yuratovich, 42, and Rachel Lynne Sargent, 40, on charges they embezzled $105,000 from the Denbo-Vesta 6 Fire Department from February 2013 to March, Centerville police stated in the criminal complaint and affidavit supporting the charges. Yuratovich served as fire department president at the time, while his girlfriend was its treasurer.
“It is vitally important for volunteer organizations to have in place control mechanisms to prevent one individual or two related individuals from having complete access to the group’s assets,” Washington County District Attorney Eugene A. Vittone said, adding it wasn’t the first time this type of theft had occurred at a fire department in the area.
The department’s secretary, Rosalie C. Paci, told borough police Feb. 18 she “suspected that funds were being siphoned, embezzled and, or stolen” from the department’s account at a PNC bank branch. She also said she discovered Yuratovich and Sargent were making bank withdrawals and expenditures at casinos on the account and none of the transactions was for the benefit of the fire department, police claim in court records.
A month later, Paci reported to police the fire department at 415 Lowhill Road removed Yuratovich and Sargent from their offices and dropped them as members.
The department also hired a retired postal inspector, Andrew F. Richards, to conduct a fraud audit of the fire department’s financial records.

Richards later discovered many purchases on fire department debit cards in the couple’s possession were made at restaurants, for entertainment and at stores including Best Buy, Home Depot, Game Stop, Lowe’s, Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart, and to pay an account at Mon Valley Hospital and for airline tickets at Qantas Airlines, police stated in the affidavit.
The audit findings prompted police to obtain a warrant to obtain the couple’s gambling records at The Meadows Casino in North Strabane Township.
Richards also accused the couple of completing 66 withdrawals from the fire department’s bank account totalling $80,046, and 97 other purchases in the amount of $25,552, court records show.

A Washington County court official said the alleged thefts crippled the fire department’s ability to meet its expenses.
A man who answered the department’s telephone Tuesday afternoon said fire company officials had no comment on the case.
Police said in court records Yuratovich and Sargent “failed to turn over documents, such as bank records, to the management” of the fire department, as well as its rank-and-file membership.
Police charged both Yuratovich and Sargent with felony counts of theft, unauthorized access device use and conspiracy, and a misdemeanor count of tampering with evidence.
 
...

Read the whole story here.

Michigan Priest, Found Guilty Of Embezzling $131K, Gets Light Sentence

From Mlive.com on 12/15/2014:

Charitable money supplied by the Archdiocese of Detroit for the needy instead went to an unscrupulous priest and his accomplice, a Wayne County jury found.

But Wayne County Circuit Judge Bruce Morrow gave Father Timothy J. Kane, 58, of Detroit, a break at his sentencing Monday.

Sentencing guidelines called for the religious leader to spend a minimum of three years behind bars, but Morrow only sentenced the priest to 1/3 the time, and spread it out over four years.

Kane was sentenced to 12 months in the Wayne County Jail to be served in the months of December and January for the next 5 years, a statement from the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office says, and was also given 5 years of probation and restitution of $131,400.

"This is a most unusual sentence that is below the defendant's guidelines," Assistant Prosecutor and prosecutor's office spokeswoman Maria Miller said in a prepared statement. "It is especially troubling considering that he was convicted as charged of multiple counts of stealing money from the poor.
"We will be determining whether we will appeal the case in the next several days."

Kane, former associate pastor of St. Gregory the Great and Church of Madonna, both in Detroit, as well as St. Benedict in Highland Park, was convicted of operating a continuing criminal enterprise, using a computer to commit a crime, uttering and publishing, conspiracy to commit uttering and publishing embezzlement from a charitable institution and conspiracy to embezzle from a charitable institution.

His accomplice, 35-year-old Dorreca Brewer of Jackson, pleaded no contest to the charges against her and received probation in October.

Pennsylvania Woman Sentenced To 2 Years For Embezzling $458K From Bank

From the Times-Dispatch on 12/15/2014:

A Pennsylvania woman was sentenced to two years in prison Monday by U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne in a $450,000 bank fraud.

Jeannetta Matthews, 27, of Upper Darby, Pa., was ordered to pay $457,967 in restitution to Wells Fargo Bank. She pleaded guilty in July to conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

Court documents say Matthews was a Wells Fargo bank employee in Pennsylvania who agreed in October 2012 to sell account and personal information for more than 20 bank customers.
Co-conspirators obtained false identification and credit cards in the names of the customers and impersonated them at Wells Fargo branches in Virginia, South Carolina, California, Georgia, and New Jersey. Two co-conspirators were previously sentenced to roughly five years and four years for their roles.

...

Read the whole story here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

California Woman Sentenced For Embezzling $138K From Green Energy Concern

From the Petaluma Argus-Courier on 12/16/2014:

A Vallejo woman is facing 14 months in prison after pleaded guilty last week to embezzling more than $100,000 from a Petaluma company between 2011 and May of this year, Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch’s office announced on Monday.
 
Eileen Madayag, 43 made the plea in Sonoma County Superior Court on December 10, admitting to the felony embezzlement and two enhancements, including stealing more than $100,000 from Between October 2011 and May 2014 from SPG Solar in Petaluma, where she was employed as the payroll manager.
 
She stipulated to a 28 month sentence, which includes 14 months in prison and 14 months on mandatory supervision. She is also required to make restitution. Madayag, who was arrested earlier this year after an internal audit revealed the embezzlement, was original charged with several counts, including computer crimes, possession of stolen identities, and forgery.
                                       
“This office will continue to aggressively prosecute embezzlers,” Ravitch said in a statement released by her office. “Ms. Madayag was an employee who selfishly took advantage of a position of trust in the workplace. I cannot stress enough how important it is that businesses have checks and balances in place, and that they report suspicious bookkeeping activity immediately to their local law enforcement office.”
 
Over the nearly three-year period, Madayag embezzled $138,175.03 from SPG Solar, which designs and installs commercial solar electric energy systems, and moved to a warehouse space in Petaluma from Novato in 2012. Madayag was re-routing employee paychecks and intercepting payments from clients which she would deposit into several bank accounts she opened in her own name. According to the district attorney’s office, the company was not aware of the thefts until management discovered a former employee was still receiving paychecks via direct deposit.
 
Madayag was arrested in July after an investigation which included an internal audit, uncovered additional direct deposits in the names of other former employees as well as evidence that several people currently working for the company were listed as receiving more than one paycheck. Maydayag was depositing those extra checks into her accounts.
 
...

Read the whole story here.

North Carolina Woman Sentenced To 5 1/2 Years For Embezzling $170K From Non-Profit

From the Winston-Salem Journal on 12/16/2014:

A former director at The Enrichment Center embezzled nearly $170,000 from Social Security funds to buy a laptop for her daughter, a car for her fiancé and to pay rent for one of her church members, federal prosecutors alleged in court documents.

Cynthia Gray Wrenn, 52, of Winston-Salem was sentenced to a total of five years and six months Thursday in U.S. District Court in Greensboro. U.S. District Judge William Osteen Jr. ordered her to be placed on three years of supervised release after she gets out of prison. Wrenn is scheduled to report to prison on Jan. 29. She pleaded guilty in September to three federal charges of an 11-count indictment alleging that she had embezzled and misused money for her own benefit. As a condition of the plea arrangement, the rest of the charges were voluntarily dismissed.
                                                                                     
The Enrichment Center has a contract with the Social Security Administration. The nonprofit receives money from Social Security to help 300 Forsyth County residents pay their bills and other expenses, according to court documents. The money is put in a trust account, from which The Enrichment Center issues checks. Many of the clients have mental health disorders, such as dementia, and are unable to handle their finances.
 
Wrenn was the director of the Representative Payee Program at The Enrichment Center. One of her responsibilities was to request checks from the nonprofit’s finance department for individual clients.
But Wrenn stole the money and used it to help herself and her family, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Hamilton alleged in court papers.
 
Wrenn stole $167,534, Hamilton said in court documents. Investigators identified 42 victims.
Federal indictments allege that she embezzled money from Social Security from Dec. 29, 2010, to Aug. 16, 2013.
 
The criminal investigation of Wrenn started in August 2013 after The Enrichment Center received a letter from QVC, the home shopping network. The letter included an uncashed check for $1,508.58 that had been returned because the shipping address didn’t match that of The Enrichment Center. The letter was addressed to Wrenn’s daughter, and the center’s internal records showed that the check was issued to buy a laptop for a client. QVC records showed that the account number for the order belonged to Wrenn’s daughter and the shipping address matched that of Wrenn’s daughter, according to court documents.
 
The Enrichment Center conducted an investigation and then contacted Winston-Salem police. The investigation found that about $118,000 had been deposited in Wrenn’s bank account at Allegacy Federal Credit Union.
 
According to court documents, Wrenn had The Enrichment Center issue a check in November 2012 for $5,102 that was payable to “Jerry Hunt,” which turned out to be Jerry Hunt Auto Sales in Lexington. The money was used to buy a car for Wrenn’s fiancĂ©e at the time, court documents say.
Wrenn asked another check to be issued, also in November 2012, that was payable to “Evans Properties.” That check, according to court documents, was used to pay the rent for a member of Wrenn’s church.
 
Hamilton also alleged that in 2013 Wrenn misappropriated Social Security money to pay for a hospital bill and her daughter’s insurance policy. Hamilton alleged that Wrenn mislead center officials, telling them that checks issued to Allegacy would be used to buy debit cards for clients. But the checks were deposited into Wrenn’s personal account.

...

Read the whole story here.

Virginia Couple Accused Of Embezzling $400K From Mechanical Contracting Company In Civil Suit

From the Virginia-Pilot on 12/16/2014:

A local mechanical contractor is suing its former accounting manager and her husband, saying the couple embezzled more than $400,000 to buy boats and real estate and open accounts in their names.

The lawsuit accuses Chesapeake resident Lynda C. Johnson of taking unspecified sums of money from Comfort Systems of Virginia Inc., a plumbing, sheet-metal and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning company, and covering her tracks by disguising the transfers as company expenses. Her husband, Roger Dale Johnson, helped, according to the complaint filed this month in Circuit Court.
Police are investigating, and criminal charges are pending against Lynda Johnson, Officer Kelly O'Sullivan, a police spokeswoman, wrote in an email.

Lynda Johnson had access to Comfort's financial records and began depositing company money into the couple's joint bank accounts in August 2013, according to the suit. She wrote checks to petty cash, wired funds and obtained cashier's checks, the suit says.

The Johnsons then used the money to buy and improve real estate, open investment and retirement accounts and purchase multiple boats: a 2012 Bayliner 170, a 2007 Four Winns 318 and a 2000 Sea Ray 290 Sundancer, the lawsuit says.

It accuses the couple of fraud, civil conspiracy and conversion, and seeks to recover what the company lost.

...

Read the whole story here.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Check Out FraudTalk's Episode: Bringing Freud to Fraud

Listen to today's episode of FraudTalk - my online radio program on the Voice America Business Channel Network.  Today the topic was the psychology of fraud with my special guest, Dr. Daven Morrison, a psychiatrist and expert on what makes fraudsters tick.

Listen here: http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/82183/the-psychology-of-fraud-brining-freud-to-fraud-with-dr-daven-Morrison

Sunday, December 14, 2014

North Carolina Couple Charged With Embezzling $560K In Assets From Elderly Woman In Their Care

From the Citizen-Times on 12/13/2014:

An Asheville couple is behind bars on charges that they embezzled hundreds of thousands in cash and property from an elderly woman in their care.

Candace Fite Ray and Johnathan Michael Ray, both fiduciaries of the victim, were arrested Dec. 12 and charged with the felony exploitation of a disabled or elder adult and the felony embezzlement of more than $100,000.

Candace Ray, 42, tried to obtain the elder’s home by filing a false quitclaim deed on the property, transferring ownership to her husband. The property is valued at approximately $299,625.

Ray is also charged with three felony counts of using the victim’s personal information without consent to open credit card accounts, as well as felony forgery for trying to cash a check worth $261,490.77, one she claimed was written to, and endorsed by, the victim.

Johnathan Ray, 42, is also charged with attempting to steal $261,490.77 belonging to the victim and acting as an accessory to embezzlement.

....

Read the whole story here.

Colorado Woman Arrested For Allegedly Embezzling $124K From Local County

From ABC News7 Denver on 12/12/2014:

A former Eagle County employee was arrested Friday on a warrant accusing her of embezzling $124,239 from the Eagle County Clerk and Recorder’s Office.

Brenda Wright, 55, of Gypsum, appeared in court, where Judge Russell Granger advised her of the charges against her. Granger set her bond at $25,000, and ordered that Wright surrender her passport to the court.

The arrest came after an investigation traced the missing public funds back to Wright, Jill Sarmo, spokeswoman for Eagle County District Attorney's Office, said in a news release.

The fraud was detected when Eagle County Clerk Teak Simonton discovered discrepancies in motor vehicle financial accounts. Those accounts contain a 2 percent vehicle rental and leasing tax levied upon vehicles rented each year in Colorado for less than 45 days, Sarmo said. A portion of that tax goes to the county where the car rental occurs.

The investigation included an accounting audit, as well as a search of Wright’s home, her bank records, cell phone, and computer, which uncovered a trail of dollar bills $124,239 deep and five years long, Sarmo said.

"I'd like to thank our Finance Department and Treasurer's Office for their assistance in determining the magnitude of the alleged theft," Simonton said in a statement. "As disappointed as I and my team are about this betrayal by a trusted employee, we are happy that she will be held accountable to the people of the county."

Wright's arrest is just the latest in a series of extraordinary embezzlement cases throughout the Fifth Judicial District, which includes Eagle, Summit, Clear Creek and Lake counties.

In recent months, notable convictions occurred in the cases of Henry Kunter, now serving an eight-year community corrections sentence after stealing from an Eagle civic organization, and Dawna Foxx, serving a five-year sentence in state prison after stealing from a local Summit County non-profit where she worked.

In addition, charges have also been filed against Sue Frank for allegedly stealing $415,000 from a Summit County non-profit business association, and Robert Polich who is suspected of stealing approximately $160,000 from a Summit County homeowner’s association.

...

Read the whole story here.

Suspect In $209K Embezzlement In Connecticut Has Prior Conviction For Fraud

From The Hour on 12/11/2014:

A Stratford woman, accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Norwalk plastic surgeon, was previously convicted of embezzlement in California, according to statements made during her arraignment Thursday at Norwalk Superior Court.

Gloria Lavae Tamayo, 43, of Stratford, served 30 days in jail and was also placed on probation after being convicted in 1997 of embezzlement. She was arraigned Thursday on new allegations of first-degree larceny, third-degree forgery and identity theft. Judge William Wenzel kept Tamayo’s $239,000 cash only bond in place and transfered her case to the Part A docket at Stamford Superior Court, where high class felony cases are adjudicated. Wenzel set the bond without prejudice, so that it can be reargued when Tamayo appears in Stamford court Dec. 19.

The victim in the case, Dr. Laurence Kirwan, is a plastic surgeon who has offices in Norwalk, New York City and London. He has performed surgical work on British television celebrities. He has also performed extensive charity work for Americares and UNICEF.

The investigation that led to Tamayo’s arrest began in August when Kirwin noticed irregularities in his office’s bookkeeping, police said. The bookkeeping irregularities came to the attention of Kirwan when the doctor combed through his finances in order to produce an accurate financial affidavit in divorce court, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Tamayo was terminated with cause on Aug. 27, court documents show. She had taken numerous work days off due to mental health issues, and Kirwan believed her embezzlement led to the issues, court documents show.

“She was always complaining that the business, Dr. K. Services P.C., had no money,” Kirwan wrote in a statement to police. “I was delinquent with my business mortgage and discovered after she was terminated that all my credit card accounts were maxed out with no available credit and that our vendor accounts were all overdue and frozen. I think that a lot of her anxiety was based on the fact that she could no longer hide her theft of corporate funds, because we had run out of working capital.”

Detective William Maloney, a certified fraud investigator, assumed the investigation and pored through the financial bookkeeping at Kirwan’s East Avenue office in Norwalk.

Maloney learned that Tamayo, the office’s bookkeeper, had been writing unauthorized checks to herself since 2010 and disguising the unauthorized checks as payments to vendors, police said. Through this method, Tamayo embezzled at least $209,075, according to police.
Tamayo was arrested at her Stratford home on Wednesday.

Read the whole story here.

Oklahoma Woman Sentenced To 1 Year For Embezzling About $142K From Tribal Entity

From the DOJ on 12/11/2014:

Robin Jean Bitseedy, 41, of Anadarko, Oklahoma, was sentenced by Chief United States District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange to serve twelve months and one day in federal prison for embezzlement from the Wichita and Affiliated, Caddo, and Delaware Tribes, announced Sanford C. Coats, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.  Bitseedy was also ordered to pay $141,820.47 in restitution to the tribes.

According to Court records, Bitseedy worked as the Office Manager for Wichita, Caddo, Delaware Enterprises, Inc. (“WCD Enterprises”), a corporation organized by the Wichita and Affiliated, Caddo, and Delaware Tribes.  Bitseedy’s position gave her access to tribal funds which she used to embezzle money from December 2007 through June 3, 2013.  In pleading guilty to the embezzlement, Bitseedy admitted that she used the WCD Enterprises Walmart credit card for personal use without permission and wrote checks to herself with forged signatures.  She admitted she used the money to purchase gift cards and items for family and pay the rent and bills for her family.

Bitseedy was charged by information on August 11, 2014, and pled guilty on August 28, 2014.  At sentencing hearing, the Judge ordered Bitseedy to report to the Bureau of Prisons on January 9, 2015, to begin serving her prison sentence.

This case is the result of investigations conducted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rozia McKinney-Foster.

California Woman Charged With Embezzling $175K From Local Concern

From The Record on 12/11/2014:

A 48-year-old Burson woman was arraigned Thursday in San Joaquin County Superior Court for allegedly embezzling thousands of dollars from a Stockton company.

Larissa Helen Jacquez, a bookkeeper, was booked into San Joaquin County Jail Wednesday on charges of grand theft, embezzlement, uttering a fictitious check and various other charges. She was transported to the Stockton courthouse Thursday to make her first court appearance.

Prosecutors say Jacquez was working at California Materials when she falsified company checks and direct deposit transactions to pay herself between 2011 and 2014.

According to search warrant records, Jacquez suddenly stopped showing up to work and sent an email to the company in November saying by the time her email is read she will be in Australia. She apologized for not giving notice.

In her absence, another bookkeeper filled in for Jacquez, court records say. The new bookkeeper discovered discrepancies in the accounting system.

Jacquez is alleged to have issued 70 checks payable to herself; she added a fictitious name to the payroll system for direct deposit; and she made invoices to fake vendors. The company’s total loss is about $175,000, authorities said.

Jacquez’s whereabouts were not known since she had stopped showing up to work until her arrest Wednesday. She is being held at San Joaquin County Jail in lieu of $230,000 bail.

...

Read the whole story here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Georgia Man Conficted Of Embezzling $500K From Hospital - Served As Payroll Manager

From the Buckhead Patch on 12/9/2014:

The former payroll director of the Grady Memorial Hospital Corporation has been convicted of stealing nearly $500,000 from the company, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.

Donald Thomas, 55, ran the hospital’s payroll operations from 2008 to 2011. During that time, he used his knowledge of the payroll system to add greater severance and vacation pay to the accounts of terminated Grady employees. He then altered the records to ensure the new payments went into his bank account. Thomas received 134 payments using this scheme.

Thomas also drew up fraudulent checks payable to terminated employees, but he forged their endorsement signatures and added his bank account number to the endorsement.

The scheme was not discovered until a former employee contacted the payroll department about discrepancies in her federal W-2 tax form. By that time, Thomas had embezzled $480,000 from the hospital.

Thomas was found guilty of six counts of theft from an organization receiving federal funds, six counts of wire fraud related to the fraudulent direct deposit payments, and of two counts of bank fraud related to the forged checks. He will be sentenced on Feb. 25.

...


Read the whole story here.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Louisiana Man Accused In Civil Suit Of Embezzling $850 From Staffing Company In Payroll Scheme

From the Louisiana Record on 12/5/2014:

A staffing agency is suing one of its shareholders it claims embezzled $850,000 in payroll funds in addition to hundreds of thousands more in business receipts.

SCS Enterprises Inc. filed suit against Dean St. Pierre in the 24th Judicial District Court on Sept. 23.

SCS Enterprises Inc. alleges that St. Pierre was a shareholder in the company in January 2010 when it discovered he had manipulated the company’s payroll, making bank draws from the company bank account in excess of his salary. The plaintiff contends it ultimately calculated $850,000 in funds that the defendant had taken. SCS Enterprises Inc. asserts that after being confronted with the evidence St. Pierre admitted to being liable for the missing funds in exchange for a 90 percent ownership stake in the company being transferred to the other shareholder, Russell Saluto, with St. Pierre retaining a 10 percent ownership stake.

However, the plaintiff claims that after the transfer it found more evidence of alleged embezzlement on behalf of the defendant, amounting somewhere between $307,000 and $612,421, that he allegedly took in the form of payments that were made out to the company by customers, but were diverted to a separate bank account. SCS Enterprises Inc.  alleges that because the previous shareholder transfer agreement was applied to the the $850,000, the remaining amount subsequently discovered should be repaid.

Damages are sought for the return of all allegedly misappropriated funds as well as attorney’s fees.

...

Read the whole story here.

Former Apple Exec Sentenced To 1 Year For Embezzling $2.4 Million In Kickback Scheme

From the Imperial Valley News on 12/6/2014:

San Jose, California - Paul S. Devine was sentenced on December 1, 2014, to 12 months and one day in prison, and ordered to pay $4,464,664 in restitution for wire fraud, conspiracy, money laundering, and engaging in transactions in criminally-derived property, announced United States Attorney Melinda Haag, FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson, and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Acting Special Agent in Charge Thomas McMahon.

According to the plea agreement, Devine admitted that, beginning in approximately February 2007, he engaged in a scheme to defraud Apple of money or property as well as to defraud Apple of its right to his honest services. He also admitted to engaging in a conspiracy with co-defendant Andrew Ang in which they agreed to the fraud against Apple.

Devine had been a Global Supply Manager at Apple from 2005 until he was terminated at the time of his arrest in August 2010. Devine’s job gave him access to confidential internal Apple information. In the course of the scheme, Devine transmitted confidential information, such as product forecasts, pricing targets, and product specifications, to suppliers and manufacturers of Apple parts, including Ang. Ang worked for several Apple suppliers located in Singapore. In return, the suppliers and manufacturers paid Devine kickbacks, including payments determined as a percentage of their Apple contracts. Devine shared the kickbacks with Ang.

In his plea agreement, Devine acknowledged that this scheme deprived Apple of its property right in the confidentiality of its information, its money, and its property, as well as its right to his honest services. The scheme enabled the suppliers and manufacturers to, among other things, negotiate more favorable contracts with Apple than they would have been able to obtain without the confidential information.

Devine admitted to receiving kickbacks as wire transfers into bank accounts that he opened for that purpose in the U.S. and South Korea, including accounts in the name of a shell corporation, “CPK Engineering.”

Devine also admitted that he knowingly transferred the proceeds of the wire fraud between his various accounts, including CPK Engineering accounts, in order to conceal and disguise the nature, location, source, ownership, and control of the proceeds. He specifically admitted to a May 18, 2010, transfer of $536,748.88 in funds derived from the wire fraud scheme.

Devine agreed that the loss attributable to the fraudulent scheme was approximately $2,409,000, which represented the amount he received in kickback payments. He agreed to forfeit $951,552 in proceeds of the fraud and a vehicle, all of which were seized by the FBI and IRS at the time of his arrest. Devine also agreed to forfeit $612,407 in proceeds of the fraud, which he transferred from overseas bank accounts and deposited with the clerk of the District Court following his arrest.

Devine, 41, of Sunnyvale, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Aug. 11, 2014. The indictment charged him with twenty-three counts related to engaging in the wire fraud scheme, conspiring to commit wire fraud with Andrew Ang, laundering the proceeds of the scheme, and engaging in transactions in funds derived from the scheme.

...

Read the whole story here.

Idaho Man Charged With Embezzling $1.6 Million From Potato Farming Concern

From the Idaho Statesman on 12/6/2014:

Police say Russell C. Leonardson stole $1.6 million over several years from his Aberdeen employer, potato company Idaho Select Inc. The Eastern Idaho man is charged with two counts of grand theft and more than 50 counts of forgery, according to a Bingham County Sheriff's Office press release.
The release, posted on the Idaho State Journal's website, says Leonardson was arrested Friday morning after a warrant was issued. Leonardson called police to notify them he would turn himself in.

"The detectives division has been investigating this case for the past several months," the press release said. "The detectives division has information [about embezzlement] going back seven years, but the statute of limitations only allows us to charge for the past five years."
Leonardson is scheduled for arraignment Monday.

________

Read an update of this story here: http://www.idahostatejournal.com/members/details-revealed-in-m-embezzlement-case/article_11733bf0-8e71-11e4-a0f0-efa84e8ecbfe.html


Update (3/19/2015): Leonardson waived his right to his initial hearing.  Read the story here.

Former CEO of Trucking Concern Allegedly Defrauds Bank to the Tune of $15 Million

From Fraud News on 12/8/2014:

The former chief executive officer of a Tulsa trucking company has been indicted on fraud charges that relate to the closure of the company.

James Douglas Pielsticker, 46, faces 23 counts of various fraud charges – tax fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit tax fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, tax evasion and failure to account for and pay employee-withholding taxes – that suddenly shuttered Arrow Trucking Co.

According to the indictment, Pielsticker and a co-conspirator allegedly submitted fake invoices to Transportation Alliance Bank of Ogden, Utah with inflated amounts the bank “owed” to Arrow. The bank had bought the trucking company’s invoices.

The indictment states he allegedly did not pay personal income taxes for three years – 2007, 2008 and 2009 - and didn’t pay the payroll taxes of its employees for three quarters of the 2009 year.

According to prosecutors, these alleged action cost the bank over $15 million and Pielsticker owes over $9.5 million in back taxes.

The indictment states Pielsticker used the money to pay for his wedding, two automobiles and an array of other personal “needs”.

Court documents have no listing for a lawyer for Pielsticker.

Jonathan Leland Moore, former chief financial officer for Arrow, pled guilty to conspiracy Dec. 4 for his role in the case.

Arrow halted all operations and laid off hundreds of its employees three days before Christmas 2009, which left truck drivers stuck around the country with no way to get home or pay for gas. In January 2010, the company filed for bankruptcy… hours after the bank filed a lawsuit against Arrow.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Fraud Talk Radio Program To Discuss Money Laundering, FCPA & International Fraud Issues

Join Chris Marquet this Monday morning at 10 EST for a new edition of FraudTalk on the Voice America radio network.  This week's program will focus on international fraud issues including Money Laundering, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, Bribery, Kickbacks, Government Corruption and more with guest Billy Marlin, CFE.   Billy is a forensic accountant by training and CFE and a recognized expert in investigations related to money laundering, bribery, kickbacks and public corruption.  Listen live or at your leisure on the Voice America business channel here.

Brother & Sister In Mississippi To Stand Trial For Allegedly Embezzling $600+K From American Legion Post

From the Associated Press on 12/6/2014:

CLEVELAND, Mississippi — The former adjutant of American Legion Post 1776 in Cleveland and his sister are scheduled for trial next week on embezzlement charges.

Morgan Shands and Rachel Shands Buser were each indicted in March for allegedly embezzling $613,834 from the American Legion Post. Both are free on bond.

Bolivar County Circuit Court officials say they are scheduled for trial before Judge Charles Webster. The court session convenes Monday.

The indictment alleges the activities by Shands and Buser occurred between Jan. 1, 2008 and Sept. 7, 2012.

In February, Morgan Shands agreed to repay $370,000 in post money that he had converted to his own use, according to the secretary of state's office.

Shands has worked as a political consultant and was campaign manager for Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes in 2013.

Massive Embezzlment Conspiracy Reported Involving The Vatican Bank: As Much As $70 Million Siphoned Off In Fraud

From Crux news on 12/6/2014:

A statement on Saturday from the Vatican bank confirmed that two former managers and a lawyer are facing criminal charges and their accounts have been seized, describing the move as a sign of the bank’s “commitment to transparency and zero tolerance.”

The statement appeared in response to a Reuters report identifying the accused parties as former bank president Angelo Caloia, former director general Lelio Scaletti, and a lawyer named Gabriele Liuzzo. All are Italian.

According to the Reuters report, the three men have been charged by a Vatican prosecutor with embezzling money from the sale of 29 buildings to mainly Italian buyers between 2001 and 2008.             
Almost $20 million has been frozen in accounts belonging to the three men as part of the probe. According to documents obtained by Reuters, a Vatican prosecutor suspects that as much as $70 million may have been illegally siphoned off from those sales.

Today’s statement from the bank, formally known as the “Institute for the Works of Religion,” says that the suspicions arose from an internal review process launched in 2013, and that it was officials at the bank who reported the matter to the Vatican’s Promoter of Justice with a recommendation that charges be filed.

....

Read the whole story here.

Trial Scheduled in New Mexico $1 Million Municipal Embezzlement Case

From KRQE News 13 on 12/6/2014:

An attorney representing the owner of a paving company accused of embezzling $1 million from Santa Fe County has lost a bid to move his client’s trial.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports that retired District Judge Jim Hall denied a motion Friday requesting the trial for Joe Anthony Montoya head to another jurisdiction.

Defense attorney Sam Bregman argued that any potential jurors in Santa Fe County could have been victims.

Montoya’s trial will proceed Monday.

Prosecutors say Montoya and his wife, Marlene, embezzled money through their company, Advantage Asphalt and Seal Coating.

They say the scheme involved two county employees and took place between 2007 and 2010.
Marlene Montoya pleaded guilty Thursday to two counts of bribing a public official and one count of conspiracy to commit fraud.


Read the whole story here.


Update (12/17/2014): Montoya was convicted at trial of embezzling $1 million from Santa Fe County on multiple fraud charges.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Ohio Man Sentenced For Embezzling $215K From Healthcare Educational Institution

From the News-Herald on 12/5/2014:

A Concord Township man who was a former director of an anesthesiology school was sentenced on Dec. 5 to two years in prison for embezzlement.

Paul Blakeley, 59, pleaded guilty in September to embezzling $215,760 from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation Nursing Anesthesiology School, said U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach in a news release.

As the school’s former director, Blakeley issued about 110 checks from the school’s accounts without authorization and made them payable to his spouse, merchants and credit card companies, Dettelbach said.

On about 50 of the checks, he “forged the payee’s endorsement before depositing them into his personal bank account.”

Read the whole story here.

Pennsylvania Woman Sentenced To 2 Years For Embezzling $300K From Law Firm

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on 12/6/2014:

Debra Feather worked 41 years for the McDonald Snyder & Lightcap law firm in Latrobe, where she handled the books with the complete trust of the partners.

But for 12 of those years she was abusing that trust, systematically stealing $300,000 from the firm and using it for personal expenses, including credit card bills and Pirates tickets.

Friday a judge sent her to prison for two years for evading income taxes on $150,000 of what she pilfered.

U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab imposed that term despite her lawyer’s plea for probation based on the fact that she’s 63, has health problems, lost her job at the firm and suffered “embarrassment and humiliation” from her crime.

Assistant U.S. attorney Leo Dillon argued for prison, saying probation is not appropriate in federal tax cases because it undermines the effectiveness of the IRS.

“The only way to deter criminal tax violations is via sentences of imprisonment,” he told the judge in a pre-sentence filing.

Feather pleaded guilty in August to tax counts pertaining to failure to pay taxes on the $150,000 she stole from 2007 to 2010, although the U.S. attorney’s office said the total loss was $300,000 dating to 1998. The tax loss to the government was about $84,000 for those 12 years.

Feather handled payroll at the firm for years without suspicion until she broke her leg in 2010. Laid up at home in traction, she couldn't make it to work to write payroll checks. So one of the partners, Donald Snyder, and an accountant took over.

In going through the books, Mr. Snyder discovered an IRS deficiency notice indicating a penalty had been imposed for failure to deposit payroll taxes for the first quarter of 2010.

He looked closer and found checks that were written to people who had no business with the law firm. Feather, it turned out, had been looting the firm for years by writing checks to herself, forging endorsements on other checks and falsifying records.

Mr. Snyder fired her and called local police. The case was eventually turned over to the criminal investigation division of the IRS to pursue tax charges rather than theft offenses, which would be a state crime.

...

Read the whole story here.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Florida Paralegal Accused Of Embezzling Nearly $4 Million From Law Firm

From the Sun Sentinel on 12/3/2014:

A paralegal pleaded not guilty Wednesday to allegations that he stole more than $3.78 million from client trust accounts at the Hollywood law firm where he worked, court records show.

Steven Sacks, 57, was released on bond after pleading not guilty to four counts of wire fraud in federal court in Fort Lauderdale.

Sacks used his position at the Gilbert & Caddy law firm to embezzle from clients whose money was kept in the firm's trust accounts to pay for mortgages and other real estate transactions, according to a charging document filed by prosecutors.

Sacks set up a corporation in Nevada and diverted clients' money to a related bank account between 2011 and March of this year, according to the charges. Prosecutors wrote that Sacks continued to make mortgage payments for some clients to conceal the missing funds but investigators gave no other information about what happened to the rest of the money.

...

Read the whole story here.

Texas Man Charged With Embezzling $284K From School District In Conspiracy Scheme

From the Beaumont Enterprise on 12/4/2014:

A former Beaumont school district employee and two others who conspired to commit fraud against the district pleaded guilt to their charges today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Giblin.

Daryl Johnson, a former warehouse supervisor, pleaded guilty to conspiracy in an embezzelemt of $284,000.

Johnson pleaded guilty in signing time sheets for his wife, Erin Johnson, and for his "sometime girlfriend," Kailyn DeShondra Pete. Both women pleaded guilty to fraud and accepted five-year probated sentences. Neither worked for the school district.

Daryl Johnson has not yet reached a sentencing agreement.

Erin Johnson received $194,000 from BISD between July of 2009 and May of 2011, investigators claimed. Kailyn DeShondra Pete allegedly received more than $90,000 between June of 2010 and May of 2012.

Read the whole story here.

Illinois Woman Sentenced To 2 Years For Embezzling $229K From Bank

From WSIL TV 3 on 12/5/2014:

A Jackson County woman has been sentenced to two years in prison for stealing from the bank where she worked.

Buffy A. Bastien, 42, was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty to one count of bank embezzlement in June.

Prosecutors said Bastien took approximately $229,000 from the Bank of Carbondale between 2010 and Feb. 2014.

In addition to the two-year prison term, Bastien was also sentenced to five years supervised release and restitution. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Illinois says Bastien has already repaid $48,721.80 and still owes $180,500.

Read the whole story here.

Michigan Woman Charged With Embezzling $100K From Vulnerable Adult

From UpperMichiganSource.com on 12/5/2014:

The 37-year-old woman charged with embezzlement from a vulnerable adult was scheduled to appear in Delta County District Court Thursday morning. Instead, Frances Kreft waived her prelim.

Beginning in 2010, Kreft allegedly took over $100,000 from a vulnerable resident at the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans. According to police, a vulnerable adult is someone who is unable to protect themselves due to mental impairment or advanced age.

...

Read the whole story here.

Missouri Woman Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $375K

From KOAM Ch. 7 on 12/5/2014:

Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Nevada, Mo., woman pleaded guilty in federal court today to a bank fraud scheme in which she embezzled from her employer.

Patricia Culbertson, 53, of Nevada, waived her right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David P. Rush to a federal information that charges her with bank fraud and filing a false tax return.

Culbertson worked for Barrington Manufacturing Corporation as a book keeper from June 2009 until she was suspended on June 24, 2014.

By pleading guilty today, Culbertson admitted that she forged the company owner's signature on checks from the company's bank account without authorization in order to cover her gambling debts and for other personal expenses. The checks were either deposited into Culbertson's personal bank account, the bank accounts of her mother and son, or the bank account of her company, PC Tech. After reviewing all of the account records, agents were able to determine that approximately $374,943 had been fraudulently withdrawn from Barrington's bank account.

Culbertson also admitted that she failed to report this embezzled income on her federal income tax returns for the years 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. Culbertson's actions resulted in a total tax loss to the federal government (without penalties and interest) of $72,246. The total tax loss to the state of Missouri (without penalties and interest) was $17,352.

...

Read the whole story here.

Illinois Woman Accused Of Embezzling More Than $1 Million From Contractor

From the News-Tribune on 12/5/2014:

An Oglesby woman accused of embezzling more than $1 million waived her right to a hearing by grand jury and will stand trial March 2.

Connie G. Steinbach, 56, of 322 E. Second St. appeared Thursday for the first time in La Salle County Circuit Court since she surrendered on a warrant and posted $10,000 cash.


...


She faces 6-30 years in prison if convicted of Class X theft for allegedly embezzling more than $1 million from her former employer, JB Contracting, over a six-year period.
Read the whole story here.

Former School Accountant In California Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $1.8 Million - Reportedly Stuffed Cash Into Her Bra

From The San Diego Union-Tribune on 12/4/2014:

Prosecutors say a former Southern California school district accountant recorded on video stuffing lunch money into her bra has pleaded guilty to embezzling $1.8 million.

The San Bernardino County district attorney's office says 50-year-old Judith Oakes pleaded guilty Thursday to nine counts of misappropriating public funds.
 
Prosecutors say Oakes could face a maximum of eight years in prison when she is sentenced on Jan. 8. She is also required to pay the $1.8 million taken from the Rialto Unified School District between 2005 and 2013.
 
Oakes was arrested last year.
...

Read the whole story here.

Update (1/9/2015): Oakes was sentenced to 5 years in prison and ordered to pay $1,845,137.81 in restitution.  According to media reports, “Over the period of her employment, more than $3  million is unaccounted for, and Ms. Oakes is believed to have stolen it,” said Tom Haldorsen, Rialto Unified’s associate superintendent of personnel services, reading from a victim impact statement in a packed West Valley Superior Courtroom.

County Commissioner In Michigan Accused Of Embezzling $100+K From Senior Center

From WWMT Ch.3 on 12/4/2014:

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The Berrien County Prosecutor's Office has authorized charges against a 62-year-old Coloma man, accused of stealing over $100,000 from a senior center.

Robert A. Wooley is facing a charge of embezzlement over $100,000, which is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in jail.

An investigation by the Michigan State Police revealed funds from the North Berrien Senior Center were being forwarded to an investment account in the name of the center, and Wooley was an authorized signor.

According to the prosecutor's office, the center's board was unaware of the existence of the account.

Wooley has been the center's director since 1996, and is also a Berrien County Commissioner.

Records obtained by state police indicate the funds were transmitted between 2007 and 2014, and the total amount exceeded $150,000.
...

Read the whole story here.


Update (3/6/2015): Wooley pleaded guilty.  Read the update here.

Wisconsin Attorney Indicted On Charges He Embezzled $2.2 Million From Clients

From the Star Tribune on 12/4/2014:

MILWAUKEE — A federal grand jury has indicted a Milwaukee-area attorney on 33 counts related to fraud and money laundering from clients.

A U.S. attorney said Wednesday that Sarah Laux of Mequon is charged with crimes including 20 counts of money laundering and nine counts of wire fraud. Authorities say she defrauded $2.2 million from four clients between 2010 and 2012, including the heirs of an early 20th century Milwaukee industrial leader.

State insurance regulators revoked Laux's insurance license in fall 2013.

Laux faces up to 30 years in prison, a $1 million fine and five years on supervised release if she is convicted of bank fraud. Mail or wire fraud convictions would carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

...

Read the whole story here.

Missouri School Food Service Manager Suspected In $250K Embezzlement Case

From LakeExpo.com on 12/4/2014:

CAMDENTON, Mo. — News broke in early October that a Camdenton High School food services employee was being investigated for allegedly pocketing students' lunch money. Camdenton R-III School District handed the investigation over to the Camdenton Police Department, and today Police Chief Laura Wright said she expects charges to be filed soon—possibly even this week.

On Oct. 27, 2014, the police issued a press release stating a food services employee had been terminated from the school's employment in September due to the allegations, and the department was looking into the matter. A review of all of the Camdenton R-III school board's executive sessions revealed the only employee terminated that month was Cassandra (Cassie) Franklin, who had worked in food service.

Franklin was terminated at the board meeting on Sept. 23, 2014. At the previous executive session on Sept. 15, the board had approved a 1/2-hour increase to Franklin's daily work schedule.
Franklin's son graduated from Camdenton High School in 2012.

The police department, however, would not confirm that Franklin was indeed the subject of the investigation. Early reports estimated the total allegedly stolen was $250,000 or more, but Chief Wright said the evidence suggests those numbers are incorrect. She did not indicate what a more accurate estimate might be.

...

Read the whole story here.