Monday, February 28, 2011

Nebraska Man Accused Of Embezzling More Than $1.4 Million

Calvin Jacobs, 52, of Elkhorn, Nebraska, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges he embezzled more than $1.4 million from CTKA Corporation where he had been employed as finance officer. According to authorities, Jacobs siphoned funds from the CTKA over a period of about 2 1/2 years between July 2006 and February 2009, by writing checks to Vital Signs Unlimited Inc. and then used them for personal expenses. Jacobs was CFO of Vital Signs Unilimited. He has been indicted on six counts of wire fraud.

Read the story here and here.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Former Utililty Treasurer In Washington State Suspected In $470K Embezzlement

Glenn Edwin Golay, 64, of Whatcom County, Washington, has been arrested on charges he embezzled as much as $470,000 from the Birch Bay Water and Sewer District where he had served as Treasurer. According to authorities, Golay, a 23 year veteran employee of the utility, began misappropriating funds in 2003. He was fired last month after the defalcation was discovered. Golay is believed to have transferred utility funds to his personal checking and credit card accounts. He has been charged with embezzling $87,636 since September 2008, but the investigation continues.

Read the story here, here and here.

Michigan Woman Charged With Embezzling More Than $100K From Municipal Housing Authority

Stacey Alley, believed to be 40 years old, of West Branch, Michigan, has been arrested and charged with embezzling more than $100,000 from the West Branch Housing Department where she had served as housing director. Alley resigned last October without explanation from her position as housing director, presumably as a result of her scheme being uncovered. Details concerning the scheme have not yet been released.

Curiously, Alley is still listed on the West Branch municipal director as head of housing here.

Read the story here.

Update (10/26/11): Alley pleaded guilty to the embezzlment on September 21, 2011 and was sentenced to 12 months in prison. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Former Finance Director of Red Cross in New York Charged With Embezzling $275K

Deborah A. Leggio, 47, currently of Tracy, California and formerly of Long Island, New York, has been arrested and charged with grand larceny in connection with her alleged embezzlement of $274,301 from the Suffolk County chapter of the American Red Cross in Long Island, New York where she had served as finance director. According to prosecutors, Leggio used a Red Cross debit card, issued in her name, to make numerous unauthorized cash withdrawals over a period of more than four years between August 2005 and November 2009.

Read the story here and here.

Pennsylvania Man Charged With Embezzling Nearly $2.5 Million

Ronald A. McFarland, 53, of Port Matilda, Pennsylvania, has been charged with embezzling some $2.46 million from Rosewood Cancer Care Inc., of Pittsburgh, and Oaktree Cancer Care Inc., of East Liverpool, Ohio for which he and his companies provided third party health insurance reimbursements services. According to prosecutors, McFarland, president of Verimed Services Inc. and Medical Alliance Partners, LLC, diverted insurance premium funds to his business and personal accounts. He is also accused of making false entries in books and records in an effort to conceal the misappropriations.

Read the story here and here.

Update (3/18/11): McFarland pleaded guilty to theft and embezzlement charges in connection with his misappropriation of $2.46 million from two cancer treatment centers. The thefts reportedly spanned nearly three years, from January 2007 until December 2009.

Update: Texas Bookkeeper Sentenced For Embezzling $659 From Local Energy Companies

Constance M. Bexley Iwanski, 56, of Corpus Christi, Texas was sentenced to 27 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution for embezzling some $659,000 from an unnamed group of petroleum companies for which she had served as bookkeeper. According to prosecutors, beginning in or about December 2002 until December 2008, Iwanski wrote at least 100 fraudulent and forged checks on company accounts to herself. She reportedly become the sole bookkeeper for the group of companies in 1994 after a restructuring. She had been working for the group since 1980. Iwanski pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud last November.

Read the story here and here.

Read the DOJ announcements here and here.

Read FraudTalk's original post on this story here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Minnesota Man Sentenced for Embezzling $660K from Tribe

Eric J. Makowski-Budrow, 31, of Brainerd, Minnesota, has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for embezzling more than $660,000 from the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe where he had served as construction project manager. According to prosecutors, Makowski colluded with contractors over a period of about two years, from 2005 and June 13, 2007, charging the tribe excessive amounts and then receiving kickbacks in return. Makowski is also accused of rigging bids and creating false documents to cover up his crimes. One of Makowski's accomplices, Jason Allen Heinlen, 33, of Belle Plaine, Minnesota, was sentenced to 5 years probation for his part in the scheme. Makowski, who is a former fire fighter for the City of Brainerd, was originally charged in November 2009 and plead guilty in December 2009. Makowski was also a member of the Brainerd Housing and Redevelopment Authority and the Brainerd Planning Commission, both of which he resigned from last May.

Read the story here, here, here and here.

Business Manager of Career Center in Pennsylvania Suspected of Embezzling $656K

An audit of the Greene County Career and Technology Center in Pennsylvania has concluded that more than $650,000 was misappropriated by its former business office coordinator, Jo Phyllis Popielarcheck, 54, of East Bethlehem Township, Pennsylvania. According to reports, Popielarcheck, embezzled the funds using unauthorized checks primarily from the center's payroll account and operating account over a period of about 2 1/2 years, beginning in July 2008. The case is currently being investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police. The center now requires three "live" signatures for check writing. PNC bank noticed irregularities and reported them to officials at the center.

Read the story here and here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Connecticut Man Charged With Embezzling $400K From Church; Already In Jail For Other Embezzlements

Alan Jonas, 63, formerly of New Britain, Connecticut, has been charged with embezzling nearly $400,000 from the First Baptist Church in Southington, Connecticut where he had served as head of its finance committee. Jonas, a CPA by training, is currently serving time for embezzling $38,000 from Chorale Connecticut, a non-profit he served as treasurer and another $70,000 from an elderly woman suffering from Alzheimer's desease. According to authorities, Jonas issued at least 111 checks on church accounts to himself. The total amount Jonas misappropriated is reported to be $396,228.69 over a period of six years from 2004 until 2010. According to media reports, Jonas was previously convicted in 1999 of embezzling $22,000 from Middlesex Hospital, where he had served as chief financial officer, reportedly to buy pornography. He has been arrested on first degree larceny charges.

Read the story here, here and here.

This is a case of shame on you - the guy had prior convictions and should not have held any fiduciary positions.

Update (7/17/12): Jonas, now 65, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison, to be suspended after eight years served, followed by five years of probation. Jonas previously pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree larcency.  Restitution is still to be determined.

Nice Article in Business New Hampshire Magazine on Embezzlement Phenomenon

They'd Never STEAL From Me!

Published Monday, February 21, 2011 7:00 am


It's always the guy in the mask we fear, sneaking in under the cover of night and making off with our computers and cash. Or the anonymous hacker in another country electronically ripping us off. We never think it will be Sue in accounting. She brings in munchkins for everyone on Fridays for goodness sake!

It is a sad fact that even the most trusted employee can give in to temptation. With so many people under financial pressure, business owners and managers need to watch company ledgers carefully to ensure that they don't become the next embezzlement statistic.

Before you think that this would never happen to you, consider this. Small- and medium-sized companies, which make up the bulk of businesses in NH, are the most vulnerable. An analysis by Boston-based investigative consulting firm Marquet International of more than 1,000 embezzlement cases during the past three years reveals that the majority of victims are privately held small- and medium-sized businesses. "Small businesses are most at risk since a few hundred thousand dollars of embezzlement can totally devastate a business," says Chris Marquet, CEO of Marquet International. In the past few years, many businesses have searched for ways to cut costs, but shaving some procedures could hurt them in the long run. "Employers may look for ways to save money that can put them more at risk for missing irregularities," says Andrea Johnstone, a labor attorney at Bernstein Shur in Manchester. She says companies may not engage in the same internal and external financial reviews or may employ them less frequently to save money. They may also opt for less expensive financial reviews rather than audits, or discontinue key security measures such as video surveillance, she says.

Johnstone recommends companies assess the nature of their business and decide whether vulnerabilities to embezzlement, employee theft or fraud outweigh the risk of discontinuing loss prevention practices.

Who's Embezzling?

According to a 2009 Marquet International study of more than 400 major embezzlement cases, a typical embezzlement scheme cost the employer nearly $400,000 and lasted about four and a half years. Most thefts were committed by longtime employees with no prior criminal history who worked alone, and about two-thirds were committed by women, although men usually stole larger amounts.

Bill Christie, an attorney at the Shaheen & Gordon law firm in Concord, says fraud typically arises when one employee has access to a company's finances, usually a bookkeeper who has established a history of trust and has access to checkbooks, computerized checking systems and QuickBooks. "Companies fall victim when one person is responsible for cash flow and no one else is supervising their work," Christie says.

Steven Winer, an attorney at Orr and Reno in Concord, says embezzlement can involve fictitious payees. A bookkeeper, for instance, may issue checks to phony vendors, funneling money to themselves. "This is not unique to the electronic age, but if the embezzler is clever, they can do these dishonest things easier using electronic tools," Winer says.

While embezzlers typically steal money, they sometimes steal merchandise, usually expensive items, such as jewelry or art. But less expensive items can be attractive to embezzlers. Johnstone says she knew of a pasta manufacturer where an employee removed products to sell on eBay. "They got away with it because the transactions were not easily traced back to a particular worker or vendor," she says.

What is the Motive?

Eric Mart, a forensic psychologist in Manchester, says only Shakespearean villains rub their hands together and say "I did it!" "Most people who commit crime have cognitive distortion-they justify it," he says.

There are a variety of reasons why people resort to stealing from their company. Some embezzlers are nice people who commit a crime that is not characteristic of the rest of their life but may be in response to circumstances, Mart says. "That could involve a marital partner who doesn't have money coming in or a house under water," he says. Other less common cases involve psychopaths, including serial embezzlers. "Some people have no conscience," he says.

Christie says he usually sees one of two types of embezzlers. One is cash-strapped. "They figure they can take it and pay it back, but things snowball and they can't repay it," he says. The more rare type involves a thief who feels entitled to the money. "They may feel underpaid or not treated well and think they can supplement their income," he says.

Marquet says he has seen embezzlement cases involving people with medical crises or gambling problems. "But even in down times, an overwhelming number of cases are motivated by people who want to enrich themselves and live a more lavish lifestyle than a $45K bookkeeping job can afford," he says.

Most embezzlement starts small. Depending on the size of the company, the amount of cash embezzled begins with a paltry $10 or $20 up to $100 or $200, Christie estimates. Typically, there is an immediate need for the cash. "Often the person taking the money loses track of how much he or she has taken and they often lose perspective on how much they have taken," he says.

When clear policies for handling money or cash distributions do not exist, embezzlers may make distributions to themselves, Christie says. "In the absence of a clear policy, businesses have little recourse since the embezzler can claim they were authorized to make a particular distribution," he says.

Red Flags

Richard Maloney, an accountant and attorney at Maloney & Kennedy in Auburn, says companies should not necessarily rely on financial statements to discover fraud. "Financial statement audits are not specifically designed to uncover fraud, although they include testing of financial systems to prevent fraud," he says.

Instead, companies need to recognize telltale signs, he says. Companies should be vigilant, for instance, if their bank notifies them about an unusual transaction; cash seems unusually tight; certain expenses are reported as much larger than they should be; or payroll records indicate someone other than an employee may be receiving paychecks. Businesses with lots of cash are particularly vulnerable-including retail businesses with moderately priced items or those that limit use of debit or credit cards, Maloney says. Physician private practices are also commonly victimized, Mart says, since they have limited business experience.

Don't expect an employee that's rerouting company funds to their own account to flaunt their newly found wealth. Christie says that's rare. It's more likely that a manager may discover an unexplained shortage in a company's books or a discrepancy in cash flow. He says, "If your vendors are typically paid on the 15th of the month, but suddenly they're getting paid on the 30th, maybe the embezzler needs an extra 15 days to cover up the money they stole."

Legal Options

One option for a company that suspects irregularities is to have another financially competent person at the company review the company's financial records. But Christie says that can be difficult to accomplish. "Small business employers concerned about interpersonal relations may not want to accuse someone of doing something they may not have done," he says. And there may not be another person available to conduct such a review.

Another approach is to hire an auditor that will cost from $75 to $200 per hour on average, according to the National Association of Fraud Investigators. "An accountant can say, ‘we're conducting an audit to see if we find any improprieties or irregular transactions'," Christie says.
If something unsavory is discovered, businesses need to have all the facts before contacting the police. Christie and other attorneys interviewed for this article recommend hiring a certified public accountant to track the cash, analyze what funds are going where, and uncover the magnitude of the problem. Having as much information as possible may determine whether there are grounds to file a criminal complaint and how much a business can expect to recover.

If the firm has proof the employee has taken money, the case should be referred to law enforcement after the employee is fired. However, a company may consider filing a civil case. A company might opt to file a federal case for larger theft involving manipulation of banking records or electronic funds transfers, Christie says, as opposed to an employee writing checks to cash or stealing cash from a drawer.

Companies will also need to shore up their internal procedures. A business that has suffered a financial loss due to embezzlement needs to examine its cash control system to discover what could have been done better and fix it, says Winer of Orr and Reno. It's a good idea to require two signatures for checks issued for vendors, he says.

The loss of money is only one way a business can suffer from embezzlement. There can also be psychological fallout, but Mart urges business owners not to overreact to feelings of betrayal. "If you are overly paranoid, that is not good for business," he says.

Read the article here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

2 Accused In Kickback Scheme That Bilked Missouri Company Out Of $1 Million

Jason Paul Mitchell, 34, of Jackson, Missouri and Rajiv M. Toprani, 30, of Clarksville, Tennessee, have been accused of conspiring to bilk nearly $1 million from The DeWitt Company of Sikeston, Missouri. According to authorities, Mitchell (left), who was employed as purchasing manager at DeWitt, colluded with Toprani (right), owner of KT America, a DeWitt supplier, who agreed to make kickback payments in exchange for exclusivity. The scheme reportedly spanned about 7 years from 2003 until 2010 where Mitchell and another employee netted some $950,000. The unnamed employee is believed to be DeWitt former CFO, Richard Potter, who has not been criminally charged at this time. Potter reportedly admitted to doctoring company financials to make the kickbacks appear legitimate.

Read the story here and here.

2 Former Finance Officers of California Company Sentenced In $1.5 Million Embzzlement Scheme

Eric Wayne Helgemo, 50, of Vista, California and Maria Lorena Vega Yarrish, 40, of Buena Park, California, CFO and Controller, respectively of Pacific Polymers Inc., were sentenced yesterday for their role in an embezzlement conspiracy that bilked the company out of more than $1.5 million. Helgemo (left) was sentenced to 10 years in prison and Yarrish (right) was sentenced to 8 years in prison. They were each also ordered to pay a fine of $3 million. According to authorities, the pair issued more than 800 fraudulent paychecks to themselves over a period of about 5 years, from 2003 until 2008. Specifically, Helgemo received 593 fraudulent payments for more than $1.1 million and Yarrish received 229 fraudulent payments for more than $340,000. The embezzlement was discovered after the company was sold and Helgemo and Yarrish were let go and an audit of the company's books was conducted. Cor Claus, Pacific Polymers former owner, claimed that the company suffered a loss of as much as $7.5 million as a result of Helgemo's and Yarrish's thefts. The pair were originally charged last October with numerous counts of computer access and fraud.

Read the story here, here and here.

Read the original Orange County DA's announcement here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pennsylvania Woman Charged With Embezzling $450K From Bank

Danielle M. Keane, 37, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been indicted on one count of embezzlement by a bank employee for allegedly misappropriating $452,037.06 from Bank of New York Mellon where she had been employed. According to prosecutors, over a period of more than 3 years, from April 30, 2007 to on or about August 1, 2010, Keane siphoned funds from the bank.


Read the story here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Update (11/16/11): Keane, now 38, has been sentenced to 33 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution.  She plead guilty in June 2011 to theft by a bank employee. 

Connecticut Woman Pleads Guilty To $500K Embezzlement

Diane D. Walasewicz, 36, of Southington, Connecticut, pleaded guilty to charges she embezzled nearly $500,000 from Maier Design Group LLC where she had been employed as a bookkeeper. According to authorities, Walasewicz added hours she did not work and put her sister on the company payroll as well as made unauthorized credit card purchases for her own benefit. Walasewicz' scheme spanned nearly a 9 year period from 2000 until January 2009 when it was discovered by the new owners of the firm who believe she stole as much as $800,000. Police investigators were able to document $530,091 in misappropriated funds. However, statue of limitations limited the amount she could be charged with to $488,878. Walasewicz, who was originally charged last April, faces up to 25 years in prison upon sentencing which is scheduled for May 25, 2011.

Read the story here and here.

Read Walasewicz' resume here.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Former Arkansas Utility Executive Director Sentenced In $756K Embezzlement Case

Joe H. Ball II, 67, of Hot Springs, Arkansas was sentenced to six months in prison followed by six months of home confinement for embezzling more than $756,000 from the Upper Southwest Solid Waste District, where he had served as Executive Director. Ball pleaded guilty last may to three counts of mail fraud. According to authorities, Ball issued and mailed District checks to himself which he then deposited them into his personal bank account. Ball claimed he spent the money on a gambling habit. He has reportedly already made restitution to the District.

Read the story here and here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Delaware Woman Arrested For Allegedly Embezzling $100+K

Virginia L. Bradshaw, 49, of Millsboro, Delaware, has been charged with embezzling more than $100,000 from Ocean RV Center where she had been employed as a bookkeeper. Specifically, Bradshaw was charged with theft of more than $100,000, tampering with records, forgery, possession of forged devices, falsifying business records, failure to file a tax return. Bradshaw's scheme spanned a five year period, according to reports where she kept two sets of books - one actual and another fraudulent. The scheme was discovered after the IRS contacted the company about unpaid taxes.

Read the story here, here and here.

Maine Woman Accused Of Embezzling $166K From Attorney's Group

Bettysue Higgins, 53, of Gardiner, Maine, has been charged with embezzling some $166,000 from the Maine Trial Lawyers Association where she had served as an administrative assistant. According to authorities, Higgins issued at least 220 forged association checks to herself over a period of about 4 years, from 2006 until October 2010. She has been charged with one count of theft by unauthorized taking or transfer and one count of forgery. Higgins is also a defendant in a civil lawsuit filed by the association seeking recovery of the misappropriated funds.

Read the story here, here, here and here.

Update (4/6/11): Higgins apparently lived in the virtual world of YoVille. Read the story here.

Update (12/14/11): Higgins, now 54, pleaded guilty to theft by unauthorized taking or transfer and forgery.  She will face a maximum of 1 year in prison.

Update (1/9/12): Higgins was sentenced to 42 months in prison and must pay $166,700 in restitution.

New York Man Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $950K

Brian M. Steele, 37, of Endicott, New York, pleaded guilty embezzling some $950,000 from Dataflow, Inc. and its subsidiaries, where he had been employed as company controller. According to prosecutors, Steele misappropriated the funds between January 2005 and June 2010. He pleaded guilty to second-degree grand larceny and second-degree forgery and faces up to 12 years in state prison upon sentencing, which is scheduled for May 2011.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (8/25/11): Steele was sentenced to concurrent prison terms of 4 to 12 years and 2 1/3 to 7 years.  According to media reports, Steele "forged company checks, transferred company funds, stole petty cash and opened fake credit cards. The company says he spent the money on a lavish lifestyle that included expensive jewelry and weekend getaways."

Marquet International Celebrates Five Year Anniversary

Marquet International has been providing expert investigative, litigation support and corporate security services to its clients, including law firms, financial institutions, corporations, and their counsel, since the firm was founded in February 2006.

“We are pleased to have reached this important milestone in our history,” said Christopher T. Marquet, founder and CEO of Marquet International. “As a boutique investigations and business intelligence firm, our growth has been dependent upon delivering the highest quality investigative services available – especially in the past few years’ difficult economy,” said Marquet. “Happy clients and referrals are critical for the success of business services firms like Marquet International,” he continued.

In marking the occasion, Marquet International will be presenting a series of exclusive five year anniversary lectures on topics such as Due Diligence for the Private Equity Industry; Litigation Intelligence: Vetting Parties in Disputes; Ponzi Schemers, Embezzlers and Fraudsters, Oh My! and Asset Recovery In A Down Economy.

Mr. Marquet has more than a quarter century of experience in the industry, having spent nearly 19 years at Kroll Associates in a variety of executive level positions. Prior to founding Marquet International, Mr. Marquet was a founding principal of Citigate Global Intelligence and a senior executive with Vance/DSFX. Over the course of his extensive career, Mr. Marquet has been involved in literally thousands of investigative and corporate intelligence projects around the world, including employee misconduct, due diligence and fraud matters. He is the author of numerous industry-related articles, including Small Businesses Face Greatest Risk For Fraud & Embezzlement, Green Energy Investment Scams: Do Your Due Diligence, Violence In The Workplace: Can It Be Stopped?, Resume Fraud: The Top Ten Lies and the annual Marquet Report on Embezzlement. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College with an A.B. degree in Physics, Economic and Philosophy.

Marquet International serves law firms, financial institutions and public and private corporations in three distinct service areas: Corporate Investigations & Litigation Support; Corporate Intelligence & Due Diligence; and Corporate Security & Business Controls consulting. Based in the Northeast US with presence in Boston, New York and Washington, DC, Marquet International operates with the highest professional and ethical standards. We seek strong relationships with our clients, building long-term trust in our abilities and confidence in our work product. Learn more about Marquet International here. Mr. Marquet can be contacted at (617) 733-3304 in Boston and (917) 733-1038 in New York or by e-mail at

Vermont Woman Pleads Guilty To Defrauding Bank Out Of $150K

Angela M. Feeley, 35, of Sheldon, Vermont, pleaded guilty to bank fraud charges in connection with her misappropriation of some $150,000 in fraudulent bank loans from CitiFinancial, where she had been employed as a local branch manager. According to authorities, Feeley forged documents for five bank loans in the names of other individuals over a period of approximately five years, from 2005 until 2010, keeping the proceeds for her own benefit. Feeley was originally charged last June with identity theft, forgery and false pretenses.

Read the story here and here.

Hat tip: FraudTalk Reader Joe.

Monday, February 14, 2011

3 Indicted On Charges They Embezzled $135K In Federal Funds From Wyoming Reservation

George Moss, Melody St. Clair and Amanda Addison Ortiz each of Fremont County, Wyoming, have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges they embezzled $135,000 in federal funds from the Northern Arapahoe Tribe of the Wind River Indian Reservation's Department of Social Services. According to the indictment, the three conspired to prepare and approve pay advances or loans using federal funds for about a year, from 2005-2006. They have been charged with conspiracy, embezzling or converting monies from an organization receiving federal funds, and aiding and abetting.

Read the story here and here.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Florida Man Arrested & Charged With Embezzling $1 Million From Municipality & Civic Organizations

Philip C. Bennett, 61, of Fort Meyers, Florida, was arrested Thursday and charged with embezzling about $1 million in total from three local civic organizations for which he had been treasurer and the City of Moore Haven, where he had served as asset manager for the municipality's Capital Project Finance Authority. Bennett allegedly began his schemes in February 2005, when he began taking funds from various city accounts in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $30,000 and depositing them into his own accounts until about August 2008. All told, he is believed to have stolen $268,500 from various city projects. Bennett is also accused of embezzling some $444,000 from the Fort Meyers Rotary Club beginning in September 2005 in amounts ranging from $8,000 to $35,000. These thefts reportedly continued until January 2008. He also is accused of embezzling $244,000 from the Fort Myers Rotary Trust fund and another $18,000 from the Rotary Leadership Institute Sunshine Division. Finally, Bennett is accused of embezzling $62,000 from Lee County commissioner Frank Mann's election campaign account. In total, Bennett is accused of stealing $1,031,500. On his LinkedIn page, Bennett claims to be a specialist in forensic accounting and fraud prevention/detection. His is the owner of Public Finance Associates, Inc.

Read the story here, here and here.

South Florida Financial Advisor Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $1.1 Million From Client Accounts

Shawn Roberts, 52, of Parkland, Florida pleaded guilty to charges he embezzled some $1.1 million from his clients at his financial advisory firm, Applied Benefits and Concepts. According to authorities, Roberts' scheme spanned about 4 years from 2005 until April 2009. He has pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud. As part of his plea agreement, Roberts has agreed to pay full restitution to the one client he stole from. Sentencing is set for May 20, 2011.

Read the story here, here and here.

Texas Woman Charged With Embezzling More Than $2.7 Million

Tracey Buckley, 44, of Palmer, Texas, has been charged with embezzling more than $2.7 million from the Bank of New York Mellon, where she had been employed as a bank officer. According to prosecutors, Buckley initiated at least 40 wire transfers totalling $2,719,674 from internal bank accounts to her own accounts at JP Morgan Chase. Buckley has been charged with one count of embezzlement of funds by a bank officer.

Read the story here and here.

California Bookkeeper Charged With Embezzling $400K

Cheryl Jacobson-Thompson, 53, of Lodi, California has been charged with embezzling as much as $400,000 from the Tokay Glass Company where she had been employed as bookkeeper for more than 10 years. According to authorities, Jacobson misappropriated company checks and cash over a period of at least 5 years.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (2/25/11): Jacobson-Thompson pleaded not guilty to embezzling at least $243,691, including $103,691 in cash, from Tokay Glass Company.

Update (4/12/11): Jacobson-Thompson's husband, DeNeille R. Thompson, 61, of Lodi, California, has been arrested and charged with conspiracy, theft, forgery and falsifying the books in connection with her embezzlement from Tokay Glass Company. Prosecutors allege that he participated in the embezzlement scheme and have photographic evidence of him apparently cashing forged checks at a Wells Fargo Bank branch.

Kansas Woman Charged With Embezzling $100K

Diane L. Brandenburg, 53, of Topeka, Kansas, has been charged with one count of embezzlement of more than $100,000 in connection with her alleged misappropriation from the Stevenson Sheet Metal Company, where she had been employed. She has also been charged with nine counts of making false information. Authorities alleged that Brandenburg stole the monies over a period of nearly five years, beginning in February 2006.

Read the story here and here.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Nevada Man Pleads Guilty To Embezzling More Than $3.7 Million From Accounts At Bank

Stephen Marich, 43, of Ely, Nevada, pleaded guilty last week to charges he embezzled more than $3.7 million from First National Bank of Ely where he had been employed as a vice president. According to authorities, Marich, who was also a Citycouncilman for the town of Ely, misappropriated funds from bank customer treasury bill accounts over a nine year period, from 2000 until early December 2009 when the scheme was discovered. Marich was reportedly confronted by bank officials at the time and he "skipped town" and a month later resigned his position with the municipality. Meanwhile, Marich's now ex-wife, Sudabeh Parsi Fahami, 41, was serving as an assistant US Attorney in Reno. She is not expected to be charged in the case. Marich, who apparently stole the money to pay for his gambling habit, is scheduled to be sentenced on May 11, 2011.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (5/22/11): Marich was sentenced to 78 months in prison. A bank audit found that the amount Marich embezzled was nearly $5.9 million, instead of the $3.7 million first reported.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Arizona County Deputy Sheriff & Wife Charged With Embezzling Almost $1 Million

Cochise County Deputy Sheriff Victor Lopez and his wife, Angelina Michelle Lopez, both of Sierra Vista, Arizona, have been charged with embezzling nearly $1 million from Sierra Vista Internal Medicine where Angelina had been employed as a bookkeeper. According to authorities, over a four and a half year period from July 2005 until December 31, 2010, Angelina Lopez misappropriated company funds for her own benefit. She was charged with one count of fraudulent schemes and three counts of theft. Victor Lopez was charged with conspiracy, fraudulent schemes and artifices and three counts of theft for having "aided, counseled and/or solicited his spouse" to commit the fraud.

Read the story here, here and here.

Read the Arizona AG's announcement here.

Read the indictment here.

Virginia County Treasurer Charged With Embezzling $135K

Brenda S. Grubbs, 53, of Othma, Virginia, has been charged with embezzling as much as $135,000 from Goochland County, Virginia coffers where she had served as County Treasurer. Investigators believe that Grubbs wrote numerous checks to herself. When confronted, Grubbs reportedly admitted to the thefts, which came to light after a bank employee notified authorities after she attempted to cash a $14,000 County check made out to herself. The thefts date back at least six months. She has been employed by the County since 1988 and has been twice elected by wide margins as Treasurer in 2003 and 2007, according to reports. The investigation is ongoing and a final loss tally has not been determined.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (2/13/11): Under pressure from the Governor's office, Brenda Grubbs has resigned her position as Goochland County Treasurer.

Update (6/24/11): Goochland County Auditor of Public Accounts Walter J. Kucharski reports alleged embezzlement by former Goochland Treasurer Brenda S. Grubbs is $180,470.

Update (8/29/11): According to media reports, Grubbs, who has pleaded guilty to a 20-count indictment earlier this month in this case, funneled much of the misappropriated funds to a "shadowy" figure in Nigeria named "Bobby Johnson".  Grubbs reportedly met the man through an online dating website and claimed he was from Virginia, working in Nigeria.  Authorities believe Grubbs may have been scammed herself.

Update (12/14/11): Grubbs, now 54, was sentenced to 40 years in prison with all but 4 years suspended. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Michigan Woman Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $600K; Blames Gambling Habit

Jo Anne Wierenga, believed to be approximately 60 years old, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, pleaded guilty to charges she embezzled nearly $600,000 from Huntington National Bank, where she had been employed as a teller. According to reports, Wierenga took money from various accounts and the bank vault over a period of about 7 years, from 2002 until mid 2009. All in, authorities alleged that Wierenga stole a total of $578,836.12. As part of her plea agreement, she must pay full restitution and is barred from the financial industry for life. Wierenga reportedly blamed a gambling habit for her actions.

Read the story here, here and here.

Hat tip: Reader Joe.

Update (5/10/11): Wierenga was sentenced to 3 years in prison.

Missouri Woman Pleads Guilty To $700K Embezzlement

Kim A. Brown, 46, of Kansas City, Missouri, pleaded guilty to charges she embezzled some $700,000 from Standard Sheet Metal, Inc. where she had been employed as a bookkeeper. According to prosecutors, Brown wrote at least 474 unauthorized checks, totaling $718,167 over a period of 7 years, from September 2002 to October 2009. She reportedly forged the signature of a business co-owner on the checks and deposited the funds into her own bank accounts. Brown plead guilty to 16 counts of bank fraud. She had been employed at the company for 11 years, starting out as a receptionist before becoming a bookkeeper.

Read the story here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Hat tip: Reader Joe.

Monday, February 7, 2011

California Company Agrees To Pay $8 Million Criminal Penalty To Resolve FCPA Violations

San Diego, California-based, publicly-traded Maxwell Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ:MXWL)has agreed to pay a criminal fine of $8 million to settle charges that it violated the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by bribing Chinese officials to secure sales of Maxwell’s products to state-owned manufacturers of electric-utility infrastructure in several Chinese provinces. According to authorities, Maxwell's Swiss subsidiary, Maxwell S.A., engaged a Chinese agent to sell its products in China, paying more than $2.5 million to the agent over a 7 year period. The agent in turn, bribes to Chinese officials of state-owned entities in order to secure contracts.

Read the story here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Judge: Pennsylvania Woman Can Only Sell Her Home To Pay Restitution In $150K Embezzlement Case

Marsha Grover, 48, of East Greenville, Pennsylvania, can only sell her home to pay restitution pursuant to a state judge's order resulting from her admitted embezzlement of more than $150,000 from Gochnauer Electric where she had been employed. Grover pleaded guilty last December to forgery charges wherein she forged at least 107 checks to herself totaling $152,428 over a period of about 6 1/2 years from March 2002 until November 2008. Grover reportedly used the monies to pay for personal expenses such as credit card bills and her mortgage. She had been a 10 year employee of the company.

Read the story here.

Hat tip: Anonymous FraudTalk reader.

Delaware Catholic Pastor Accused Of Embezzling $358K

The Rev. Cornelius J. Breslin, 59, of New Castle County, Delaware has been charged with embezzling more than $358,000 from two parishes he oversaw, St. Patrick and St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception. Authorities alleged that between July 2009 and August 2010, Breslin wrote checks to himself from the accounts of both parishes. Breslin has been charged with two felony charges of theft over $100,000 and two misdemeanor charges of falsifying business records. According to media reports, Senator Joe Biden in 2004 regularly attended Mass at St. Patrick's.

Read the story here and here.

Update (7/7/11): Breslin pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of felony theft over $100,000.  He is scheduled to be sentenced September 23, 2011.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Former Connecticut Securities Broker Sentenced In $1.7 Million Embezzlement Scheme

Gregory J. Buchholz, 45, of Bridgewater, Connecticut, was sentenced to 4 years in prison for embezzling some $1.7 million from client accounts of his while working as an independent securities broker operating a branch office of Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. in Southbury, Connecticut. According to prosecutors, Buchholz misappropriated client checks by forging them or convincing them to sign them over to him to invest. Instead, Buchholz took the funds for his own purposes. Buchholz' scheme spanned nearly 10 years, beginning in 2001.

Read the story here and here.

Read the DOJ announcement here.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Montana Man Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $150K

Ryan Paul Shipman, 37, of Billings, Montana, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud admitting he embezzled some $150,000 from from Mountain West Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co., where he had been employed as a claims adjuster. According to prosecutors, Shipman submitted false and fraudulent claims for additional monies for his own benefit over a period of about 2 years, from October 2008 through September 2010. Shipman reportedly admitted that he and a co-conspirator split proceeds from the scheme. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 5, 2011 and faces up to 20 years in prison, plus restitution and fines. At his guilty plea hearing, Shipman claimed “I spent most of it on gambling,” referring to the ill-gotten gains.

Read the story here.

Hat tip: Reader Joe.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Trial Delayed For Rhode Island Woman Accused Of Embezzling $200K From Local Businesses

Deborah Cooper, 43, of Woodbury, Rhode Island, who has been charged with embezzling some $200,000 from several local businesses for which she handled the bookkeeping, has had her case postponed until later this month. Authorities allege that Cooper stole from the following businesses: Davis Companion Animal Hospital of Woodbury, $99,000; Jason G. Stokes Masonry of Bethlehem, $23,500; Stone Craft in Woodbury, $47,000; and Bob Pabst Land Clearing Inc. of Woodbury, $40,000. Prosecutors charged Cooper last July on five counts of first degree larceny and two counts of second degree forgery.

Read the story here, here and here.

Louisiana Bank Employee Charged With Embezzling $280K From Elderly Customer Accounts

Brandy Z. Rogers, 31, of New Iberia, Louisiana, has been arrested and charged with embezzling some $280,000 from elderly customer accounts at Teche Federal Bank where she had been employed as a customer service representative. Rogers allegedly siphoned monies from customer accounts over a period of several months. She has been charged with unauthorized use of an access card for theft, identity theft, theft of assets of an aged person, bank fraud, forgery, computer fraud and money laundering.

Read the story here and here.

Hat tip: Reader Joe.

Update (1/13/12): Rogers, now 32, pleaded guilty in federal court to embezzling funds from Teche Federal Bank between what is now understood to be about 2 1/2 years, from June 2008 through January 2011.

Update (6/8/12): Rogers has been sentenced to 27 months in prison for embezzling what is now understood to be $387,321.45 in bank customer funds from Teche Federal Bank. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New York Man Accused Of Embezzling $400+K From Credit Union

Jason J. LaPierre, 35, of Kingsbury, New York, has been accused of embezzling at least $406,000 from the Hudson River Community Credit Union where he had been employed as a marketing specialist. According to authorities, LaPierre wrote at least 300 false and duplicate checks from the banks accounts which he deposited into his accounts at several other banks. Police investigators allege that LaPierre's scheme spanned nearly five years from 2006 until December 2010. LaPierre also serves as the pastor at the River Church. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Read the story here and here.

Update (7/11/11): LaPierre was sentenced to a net 3 to 9 years in state prison for embezzling at least $406,000 from the Hudson River Community Credit Union. 

Former New York City PTA Treasurer Accused Of Embezzling As Much As $100K

Providence Hogan, 43, of Brooklyn, New York is under investigation for embezzling as much as $100,000 from the PTA for Public School 29 in the Cobble Hill section of the borough where she had served as treasurer since July 2007. An investigation is ongoing into the allegations of the thefts and details have not yet been released. Hogan reportedly has her own business, Providence Day Spa and she has worked as a massage therapist and doula.

Read the story here, here and here.

Update (3/29/11): Hogan has been formally indicted on 22 counts including Grand Larceny and Falsifying Business Records in connection with her alleged embezzlement of some $100,000 from PS 29s PTA. She allegedly wrote checks to herself from the PTA account and took cash to support her business, Providence Day Spa. She also allegedly attempted to cover up the misappropriations by falsifying documents.

Update (11/1/11): Hogan struck a plea agreement, pleading guilty to 3 counts of grand larceny and agreeing to pay restitution to the PS 29 PTA.