Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pennsylvania Municipal Employee & Cop Husband Charged With Embezzling More Than $850K; Gambling Blamed

From LehighValleyLife.com on 5.21.13:

An Emmaus couple used an elaborate scheme involving South Whitehall Township residents' utility payments to embezzle $854,497, according to the Lehigh County District Attorney's Office.

Nancy A. Tonkin, 66, and William J. Tonkin IV, 69, both of Little Lehigh Drive South in Emmaus, face several theft-related charges, which came as the result of a grand jury, officials announced today.

Nancy Tonkin was a clerk at South Whitehall Township, where she collected payments from residents, officials said, and William Tonkin was a township police officer. Residents have since been reimbursed, while the township continues to seek ways to make up the money, according to township Manager Jon Hammer. In the meantime, internal controls have been put in place to prevent a similar scheme, according to authorities.


The stolen funds, taken between 1999 and June 2012, were used to pay for the Tonkins' daily needs and a gambling addiction, according to the grand jury report. Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin said the Tonkins were "certainly living above their means."

The couple frequented three Pennsylvania casinos and five New Jersey casinos, including the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, according to the report. Gaming records showed Nancy Tonkin lost $94,785 from slot machines and William Tonkin lost $21,452 from 2003 to 2012 alone.


Former Missouri Banker Sentenced For Embezzling $1.2 Million

From the Salem News on 5.21.13:

Irvin R. Eddington, Jr., was sentenced Monday afternoon to 57 months in prison on bank fraud and embezzlement charges, involving his issuance of fraudulent letters of credit while he was Vice President and Manager of the Ellington Branch of People’s Community State Bank. In addition to the prison sentence, he was ordered to pay restitution of $1.2 million.


Eddington, 43, Ellington, pled guilty in February to one felony count of bank fraud and one felony count of embezzlement by a bank employee, and appeared Monday afternoon for sentencing before United States District Judge Carol E. Jackson, in Cape Girardeau.


Iowa Accountant Sentenced For Embezzling $332K From Client

From CBS4 News on 5.21.13:

A Clinton woman who ran an accounting business has been sentenced to nearly two years in prison for embezzling $332,000 from a client.

A judge also ordered Regina Jimenez to pay the money back and spend a year on supervised release. Prosecutors say Jimenez operated AA Accounting and Tax Services in Clinton from 2007 to 2011.

West Virginia Woman Sentenced To Prison For Embezzling As Much As $200K From Municipality

From the Register-Herald on 5.21.13:

Monroe Circuit Judge Robert Irons sentenced a former Alderson Town Hall employee to one to 10 years in a state penitentiary for embezzlement.

Jacalyn Ann Villars entered a Kennedy plea in March to the felony of embezzling more than $1,000 from the town. A Kennedy plea does not involve an admission of guilt, but a defendant entering such a plea stands convicted of the charge.

Speculation in the community has put the total figure of funds embezzled as low as $96,000 and as high as $200,000.

Nevada Man Pleads Guilty To $5.6 Million Embezzlement Scheme

From the Associated Press on 5.21.13:

A Las Vegas man has pleaded guilty to fraud charges in connection with the embezzlement of $5.6 million from the prominent builder of residential high-rises in the Vegas area over nearly five years.
U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden says Rocco Lazazzaro pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud at the Florida-based Turnberry Associates.
He says Lazazzaro personally was responsible for stealing about $3.7 million from the company that owned or developed the Residences at MGM, Town Square shopping center and the Stirling Club in Las Vegas, among others.
Ex-Turnberry controller Hope Ippoliti also pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Her sentencing is set for July 11 and Lazazzaro's for Aug. 22.

Monday, May 20, 2013

2 Indicted In $465K St. Louis Municipal Embezzlement Conspiracy Case

From KMOX on 5.20.13:


Last week, a federal grand jury indicted 43-year-old Thomas “Dan” Stritzel, the city’s chief park ranger, and 55-year-old deputy parks commissioner Joseph Vacca. The indictment released Thursday accuses each man of three mail-fraud counts, alleging they men used various schemes to spend $465,000 on vehicle leases, credit card bills and other expenses.

Prosecutors say the theft, allegedly committed over the course of seven years, was so clever it would have been almost impossible to detect. Still, Roth says department heads are going to discern how to make their systems even more secure.


Update on 1/27/14:

Thomas Stritzel, now 44, was sentenced to 3 years in prison.  He and deputy parks commissioner Joseph Vacca pleaded guilty in September to mail fraud. The men must also pay restitution of $473,000.  Vacca, now 58, received a three-year sentence in December 2013.

Former Municipal Employee In Michigan Charged With Embezzling More Than $300K

From WoodTV8 on 5.17.13:

A former Kentwood Parks and Recreation Department employee has been charged with embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from her employer.

Deborah Salmon worked at the front counter of the Kentwood Parks and Recreation Department, taking cash payments for 15 years.

But Friday, city officials told 24 Hour News 8 that she embezzled more than $300,000 over at least the last eight years from the city.


Former Bank Teller Indicted For Allegedly Embezzling $245K From Illinois Bank

From the Chicago Tribune on 5.1.13:

A former Geneva bank teller has been indicted in what prosecutors called a scheme to use bank customers’ account information to steal at least $245,000.

Court documents show that federal charges were filed Thursday against Clarice Watkins. She is being charged with four counts of bank fraud, two counts of aggravated identity theft and a single count of fraud.

According to the indictment, Watkins was a teller at a Fifth Third Bank branch in Geneva, and from April 2008 to April 2010 was believed to have stolen profile information from customers who came to her teller window, targeting those with large account balances.

Watkins schemed with another person – known as “Individual A” in the indictment – to steal the money and agreed to split the profits from the plan, the indictment states. It’s alleged Watkins accessed customer profiles of at least 14 bank account-holders, records state.

That profile information was used to make unauthorized wire transfers, the indictment alleges.


Update (12/18/2014):

Watkins pleaded guilty to the fraud.  See updated story here: http://beaconnews.chicagotribune.com/2014/12/18/former-teller-convicted-bank-fraud-ordered-repay-212000/

Missouri Woman Charged With Embezzling Nearly $400K From Bank

From Southeast Missourian on 5.20.13:

The FBI arrested a First Midwest Bank employee Friday on suspicion of embezzling nearly $400,000 from the institution.

Bank teller supervisor Leslie Ann Eastwood Kirby, 38, of Poplar Bluff turned herself in to authorities at approximately 8:30 a.m. at the Poplar Bluff Police Department.

She was taken by FBI agents to a federal holding facility, according to Poplar Bluff police chief Danny Whiteley.

Kirby is accused of taking the funds during a period of time ending March 28, according to a copy of an indictment filed with the Southeastern Division of the U.S. District Court's Eastern District.


The indictment filed by federal prosecutor Morley Swingle said Kirby "willfully misapplied or embezzled the sum of approximately $397,000 of the funds … in that the defendant wrongfully and without authorization took money that came into her possession as the supervisor of the bank tellers and used it for her own benefit."


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Indiana Man Pleads No Contest In $183K Michigan Embezzlement Case

From WDRB on 5.18.13:

An Indiana man faces up to 20 years in prison in an embezzlement case from Battle Creek.

James Korson is accused of taking $183,000 from Pyper Products. The 56-year-old from Angola, Ind., pleaded no contest to embezzlement in Calhoun County Circuit Court on Friday.

A no contest plea isn't an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing.

Battle Creek police say Korson took the money between 2005 and 2009 while he wa
s working as a controller.

The Battle Creek Enquirer reports Korson already is serving a 20-month to 15-year prison sentence after a plea to embezzling money from a Jackson County company, where he worked after leaving Pyper.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Former Dental Professor In Virginia Pleads Guilty To Embezzling More Than $137K

From the Times-Dispatch on 5.16.13:

A retired Virginia Commonwealth University dental professor almost got away with stealing more than $100,000 from the VCU Dental Faculty Practice Association, authorities said.

But James E. Hardigan was undone by a measly 63 cents that was left in an account from which he had taken a large sum of money, according to Richmond prosecutor John Jung.

Hardigan, 69, pleaded guilty Thursday in Richmond Circuit Court to felony embezzlement of $137,553.


In 1995, Hardigan opened an investment account with $500,000 under the association’s name, using money that belonged to the association, Jung said.

In 2004, Hardigan retired from VCU, Jung said. The following year, he moved $137,553 from the account that had been opened in the association’s name into a personal account, Jung said.


Another Weak Embezzlement Sentence In Massachusetts: Man Gets Probation After Stealing $910K From Town and Non-Profit

From the Medford Patch on 5.17.13:


A Medford man who recently pled guilty to embezzling close to $1 million will not serve any jail time, something that reportedly is not sitting well with some according to a local news station.

FOX 25 News reported that Timothy McDaid, who embezzled $910,000 combined from the Maynard retirement fund and Asperger's Association of New England in separate cases, pled guilty to charges of larceny over $250, uttering a false check and forgery.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Former Texas Banker Sentenced For Embezzling $385K

From KCBD 11 on 5.16.13:


Donnie Wright, 53, of Lubbock, Texas, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings to 37 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $385,356 in restitution following his guilty plea in February 2013 to one count of bank embezzlement by a bank employee. Judge Cummings ordered that Wright surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on June 20, 2013. Today's announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. SaldaƱa of the Northern District of Texas.

According to documents filed in the case, Wright was employed by Bank of America in Lubbock, as a Branch Manager at the 5144 82nd Street location. The factual resume states that Wright was a member of the Board of Deacons and Trustee at Community Baptist Church (CBC) in Lubbock. Beginning in May 2006 and continuing to January 24, 2010, Wright used his position as a Bank of America employee to embezzle funds owned by CBC and entrusted to the custody and care of Bank of America. He employed a variety of methods to embezzle the funds, including embezzling from CBC's Certificates of Deposits held at the bank; making cash withdrawals from CBC's accounts using debit (withdrawal) tickets; and fraudulently drawing checks on CBC's checking account.


Revised State Rankings For Weakest Sentencing Record On Major Embezzlements For 2012

Based upon the just announced probation sentence of a woman in Massachusetts who stole $110,000 from a town for which she had served as treasurer, we have re-ranked the states in terms of sentencing durations on major embezzlements for 2012 in The Marquet Report on Embezzlement:

State                Months (years)
            MA                    5 (0.4)
            CO                    6 (0.5)
            WI                   18 (1.5)
            LA                   23 (1.9)
            MN                  23 (1.9)
            VA                   24 (2.0)
            OR                  26 (2.2)
            KS                   26 (2.2)
            OH                  28 (2.3)
            CT                  28 (2.3)

That is, Massachusetts and Colorado appear to have very lenient sentencing for white collar crimes.

Massachusetts Woman Gets Probation After Pleading Guilty To Embezzling $110K From Municipality; Makes State Weakest In Nation For Sentencing On Embezzlements

From The Boston Globe on 5.16.13:

A woman who embezzled more than $100,000 from Westfield while working in the city collector’s office has avoided prison time.

Susan Duffy was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Springfield to three years of probation, including a year of house arrest. She was also ordered to repay the money.
Prosecutors say she stole $110,000 from 2008 until 2011.
The 49-year-old Duffy pleaded guilty last year to embezzlement and false income tax reporting charges. She had faced up to 18 months in prison.
Duffy’s lawyer said his client was struggling with the death of her mother, a divorce and a child’s health problems. Duffy apologized in court.
Note from Chris:  This is more evidence demonstrating why Massachusetts ranked as one of the weakest states in terms of sentencing for these types of major embezzlements.   See The 2012 Marquet Report on Embezzlement.  In fact, with this sentence in a 2012 case, Massachusetts became the weakest (beating out Colorado) state for judicial consequences. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Colorado Man Expected To Plead Guilty To Embezzling $255K From Employer

From The Cortez Journal on 5.14.13:


Brian K. Shoults, 42, worked as a bookkeeper for Office Outpost in Cortez for three years. During that time he allegedly defrauded the company by depositing unauthorized payroll money into a personal account, according to an indictment handed down February 4 by a federal grand jury in Durango.
Jeff Dorschner, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office, said Wednesday that Shoults initially pleaded not guilty to charges of wire fraud and tax evasion, but has requested a change-of-plea hearing, scheduled for May 29 in a Denver federal courtroom.
The federal indictment alleges that between April 8, 2008, and Aug, 25, 2011, Shoults obtained $255,000 “by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses” from the bank accounts of Copy Shop Inc. doing business as Office Outpost.
As bookkeeper for Office Outpost, Shoults had access to the company bank account and was responsible for payroll accounting for the firm’s 15 employees. According to the indictment, “The defendant would prepare bi-weekly payroll and pay himself more than he should have received ... then ... transfer the inflated amount into his personal bank account.”
In an attempt to hide the fraudulent transactions, “the defendant would record these overpayments either generically as ‘Payroll Expenses’ or other business expenses and in some instances make no record of such payment.”

Virginia Woman Pleads Guilty To Bank Fraud In Connection With $155K Embezzlement

From The Hopewell News on 5.13.13:


Shannon S. Hamilton of Prince George pleaded guilty May 1 to one count of bank fraud but admitted to numerous victims in signing the agreement.

She was branch manager at the South Park branch of SunTrust Bank in Colonial Heights from February 2008 until November 2011.

She used her position at the bank to take money from clients through a series of secret and unauthorized transactions using certificates of deposit and checking accounts.

In the scheme, Hamilton redeemed the certificates of deposit or withdrew money from them without clients’ knowledge. She used the money for personal purposes such as repaying a 401K loan and for living expenses and to perpetuate the scheme by repaying previous victims by buying new CDs or returning funds that were removed.

Court documents say she violated several internal bank rules by ordering tellers to make withdrawals from customers’ accounts without them being present, redeeming CDs using cash rather than bank-issued checks, or forged endorsements on the checks that were issued. She also changed the addresses listed for the accounts to the bank’s address so customers would not see the unauthorized transactions on statements.

Internal bank procedures say that the owner of a certificate of deposit must be present to redeem it. All statements must be sent to the client’s home address and not the bank address.

In all, she took money from 12 clients and caused the bank to lose $155,000.

Note: Hamilton is 43 years old.

Oklahoma Woman Charged With Embezzling $141K From Church

From NewsOn6 on 5.13.13:

The former financial manager for First United Methodist Church in Stillwater has been charged with embezzling from the church.

Court records show 43-year-old Dana Sue Eckhart is charged with embezzling more than $141,000 from the church since 2009.
An affidavit says church officials went to police in January with an audit showing that Eckhart had written unauthorized checks to herself, her husband and others from 2009 through 2012. Church officials also question more than 200 purchases Eckhart made using a church-issued credit card.

Update (1/9/14):  Eckhart has pleaded guilty to one charge of embezzlement exceeding $25,000 which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, plus restitution.

6 Charged With Allegedly Embezzling $15 Million From The San Francisco School District

From the Huffington Post on 5.14.13:

Six current and former San Francisco school district employees were charged Tuesday with embezzling about $15 million in grant money from the district, officials said.

The suspects face multiple felony grand theft and embezzlement counts for diverting federal and state grant money into hidden slush fund accounts through several nonprofits over a 10-year period, district attorney George Gascon and San Francisco Unified Schools Superintendent Richard Carranza announced at a news conference.

A three-year investigation found the six suspects, including a former associate superintendent and two former senior executives, used about $250,000 for personal expenses and another $500,000 for unauthorized salaries and bonuses, officials said.

About $6.7 million of the grant money went toward educational purposes, but not for what was specifically intended, Gascon said. One of the nonprofits involved even risked $250,000 in the stock market and lost, he said.


Those facing charges include former associate superintendent Trish Bascom; former senior executive directors Linda Sue Lovelace and Meyla Ruwin; former principal administrative analyst Lilian Capuli; former assistant principal Mychel Navales and Betty Wong, a typist.


2012 Marquet Report On Embezzlement Reveals Industries With Highest Average Loss

We conducted an analysis of losses incurred by various industry groups for 2012 in the lastest Marquet Report on Embezzlement.  The analysis reveals the following 15 industries which experienced the highest average theft:

Industry Group
$Average Loss
Financial Services
Political organizations
Government Agency
Professional services

Marquet Report On Embezzlement - Highlights From 5 Year Aggregated Analysis

An analysis of the data we have compiled on major embezzlements in the US over the past five years, from the beginning of 2008 through the end of 2012, which includes a total of 2,110 case studies, allows us to make some definitive conclusions, consistent with our prior findings: 

  • Embezzlers begin their schemes in their early 40s (42.7, on average);
  • The average major embezzlement spans a 4.7 year period;
  • By a significant margin, embezzlers are most likely to be individuals who hold bookkeeping or finance positions (67.1% of all cases);
  • The financial services industry suffers the greatest losses from embezzlement (more than 26.2% of all losses in the data);
  • Non-profits and religious organizations together account for nearly one-eighth of all the incidents (12.3% of all cases);
  • Women are more likely to embezzle than men (62.4% vs. 37.6% overall in the data);
  • Men embezzle significantly more than women ($1.9 million vs. $801,000, on average);
  • The vast majority of embezzlements are caused by sole perpetrators (86% of all cases);
  • Gambling is a clear motivating factor in driving some perpetrators to embezzle;
  • About 4.5 percent of major embezzlers have prior criminal histories;
  • The most common embezzlement scheme involves forgery or unauthorized use of company checks (35.5% of all cases in which the method was known).  The next most common scheme involves the theft and/or conversion of cash receipts (21.2%), followed by unauthorized electronic transfers (12.2%)
  • California has experienced the greatest number of major embezzlements over the past four years (266 cases or 12.5% overall), followed by Michigan (112/5.3%), Pennsylvania (101/4.7%), New York and Texas, both at (89/4.2%); and,
  • The ten states with the highest risk for loss from embezzlement are in order of risk: Iowa, Vermont, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Florida, Montana, South Dakota, Louisiana and Connecticut. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Marquet Embezzlement Report Outlines Most Common Industry Sector Victims

Below is a pie chart depicting the breakdown of the industry groupings by their respective incident frequency rates over the past 5 years (note we combined insurance into financial services and non-profits with religious organizations):

Marquet Report On Embezzlement Details Most Common Schemes

The 2012 Marquet Report On Embezzlement released today outlines the most common schemes employed in major embezzlement cases based upon our 5 years of aggregated data as follows in order of frequency (highest to lowes):

  • Forged/Unauthorized Checks
  • Theft/conversion of cash receipts
  • Unauthorized electronic transfers
  • Vendor fraud
  • Payroll shenanigans
  • Credit/debit account abuse
  • Fraudulent reimbursement
  • Bogus loan scheme

Marquet Report On Embezzlement: Highest Risk States Identified

The 2012 Marquet Report on Embezzlement conducted an analysis of the Embezzlement Propensity Factor (EPF) for all 50 states in the US based upon an aggregation of 5 years' data.  The top 10 states with the highest EPF or risk of loss to embezzlement were identified as follows in order of risk:
  • Iowa
  • Vermont
  • Rhode Island
  • West Virginia
  • Massachusetts
  • Florida
  • Montana
  • South Dakota
  • Louisiana
  • Connecticut

The 2012 Marquet Report On Embezzlement Has Been Released

-          Iowa, Hawaii & Rhode Island top list of highest risk states for 2012

-          Financial institutions and non-profits hardest hit

-          Largest corporate and municipal embezzlements in US history included

-          Gambling addiction seen as a factor

-          Colorado & Massachusetts have weakest sentencing records

Boston – May 14, 2013 – Marquet International Ltd. announced today that it has released The 2012 Marquet Report on Embezzlement – its 5th annual study of major embezzlement cases in the United States.  The study examined 528 major embezzlement cases active in the US in 2012 – those with more than $100,000 in reported losses. 

See full report here.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Marquet Report on Embezzlement to be Released Tomorrow

The 2012 Marquet Report on Embezzlement is scheduled to be released tomorrow (at long last).  Contact us if you would like an advance copy at info@marquetinternational.com

Michigan Man Indicted For Allegedly Embezzling $114K From Illinois School District


Todd Ryan Frazier, 30, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was indicted by a grand jury and charged in a sixteen count Indictment with: Counts 1 - 3, Embezzlement and Theft from the Carterville School District - a unit of local government that received federal funds; Counts 4 - 13, Wire Fraud in furtherance of a scheme to defraud the Carterville School District; Count 14, False Statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Count 15, Attempting to Access a Computer of a Financial Institution Without Authorization; and Count 16, Uttering a Forged Check of the Carterville School District, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, Stephen R. Wigginton, announced today. The offenses each carry a total statutory maximum sentence of up to 250 years in prison, a fine of up to $3.400,000 and mandatory restitution.

The Indictment alleges that Todd Ryan Frazier, from August of 2008, and continuing through February of 2012, engaged in a scheme to defraud the Carterville School District, Unit 5, in Williamson County, Illinois, while he was the School Business Official which included the duties and responsibilities to act as the treasurer and payroll officer for the district. The Indictment further alleges that Todd Ryan Frazier lied to the Federal Bureau of Investigation during its investigation when he stated that he had not stolen money from the Carterville School District nor did he make any false entries into Carterville School District's payroll system.

An indictment is a formal charge against a defendant. Under the law, a defendant is presumed to be innocent of a charge and is entitled to a fair trial at which the Government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The Indictment is the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman R. Smith.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Pennsylvania Woman To Be Sentenced For Embezzling $970K From Employer Via Payroll Shenanigans

From the Associated Press on 5/10/13:

A central Pennsylvania woman is set for sentencing before a federal judge in Erie on charges she embezzled $970,000 from a furnace company where she worked as a payroll clerk, and failed to declare the money as income.

Fifty-one-year-old Sandra Prechtel (PREK'-tel), of St. Marys, was indicted two years ago and pleaded guilty in October to mail fraud and tax evasion while working for Abbott Furnace Co. from 2002 to 2007.

Federal prosecutors say Prechtel handled the company's finances and payroll and stole the money by issuing herself extra pay checks or by inflating the amount of direct payroll deposits into her personal bank account. Authorities say she spent the money on herself and on credit card accounts jointly held with a love interest.

Oklahoma Woman Charged With Embezzling More Than $281K From YWCA; Had Served As CFO

From the Oklahoman on 5/10/13:

A former chief financial officer accused of stealing more than $280,000 from YWCA Oklahoma City was charged with embezzlement Thursday in Oklahoma County District Court.

Shannon Marie Rickards, 41, of Oklahoma City, admitted to charity executives and investigators that she transferred ownership of two bank cards to her name to steal funds, court records show.
Rickards is accused of embezzling $281,410 between October 2010 and January 2013, according to a probable cause affidavit.

All the embezzled money came from revenues generated by Our Sisters' Closet, a resale store at 2209 W Interstate 240 Service Road.
Rickards told investigators she used the cards at automated teller machines to withdraw funds from an account that belonged to the resale shop. Security footage shows Rickards using the cards at ATMs inside gambling facilities, prosecutors said. She also admitted to altering bank statements to cover up the embezzlement.

2 South Dakota Women Sentenced In $364K Tribal Embezzlement Case; Gambling Involved

From the Aberdeen News on 5.9.13:

The final two people involved in a tribal district embezzlement-related case in the Sisseton area were sentenced Thursday in federal court in Aberdeen.

Tammie Strutz, 52, was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison by Judge Charles Kornmann. Jacqueline Wanna, 67, was sentenced to five years probation and six months of house arrest.

Both women have to help make $345,965 in restitution for the stolen money. And both have to pay $100 special assessments, which they have already done.

Strutz and Wanna previously pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting misapplication of funds from an Indian tribal organization.

The women were elected officers of the Heipa District of the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Oyate when they and two other former officers embezzled the nearly $350,000 from the district between January 2007 and January 2009. They did so by issuing themselves checks for service to which they weren't entitled.

Wanna was the district's vice chairwoman. Strutz was the treasurer. While being sentenced, both women apologized for their actions.
Previously, Lloyd LaBelle Jr., 53, the former chairman, pleaded guilty to the same charge and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. And Charlene Wanna, 61, the former secretary, was found guilty by a jury of the same charge and sentenced to 33 months in prison. They must also help make restitution. Charlene Wanna and Jacqueline Wanna are sisters. Charlene Wanna is appealing her conviction.

Wright said that Strutz and Charlene Wanna concocted the plan to steal district money and talked LaBelle and Jacqueline Wanna into going along with it.

Kornmann said he was not impressed with LaBelle's behavior in the case because the former chairman wouldn't admit to involvement during many of the proceedings.

The judge read the amounts each person stole:
  • Strutz: $122,100
  • Charlene Wanna: $93,465
  • Jacqueline Wanna: $77,000
  • LaBelle: $53,400
Strutz admitted she gambled away the money she stole.

Sometimes, the four people charged in the case would meet at a casino, issue the checks and immediately cash them, Kornmann has said. He said each time they wrote an improper check was a crime, though the four were only charged with one count each.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

West Virginia Woman Indicted For Allegedly Embezzling Nearly $250K From Elderly Clients Of Bank She Managed

From the Exponent-Telegram on 5/8/13:

CLARKSBURG — Federal grand jurors on Wednesday indicted a Lewis County Huntington National Bank official accused of embezzling nearly a quarter of a million dollars from middle age and elderly clients.

Deborah D. Radcliff, 51, of Weston, was among several indicted by the grand jury of Northern West Virginia residents, which met Tuesday and Wednesday in Clarksburg.

Radcliff was indicted on one count of embezzlement by a bank employee, and six counts of structuring. The indictment also seeks a forfeiture.

The defendant was branch manager of the Weston Huntington National Bank during the embezzlement, which occurred by at least July 1, 2011, through around Nov. 5, 2012, grand jurors alleged.

She used her position “to issue or direct to be issued cashier’s checks from funds withdrawn from depositors’ accounts issued in the name of the depositor,” the grand jury alleged.

Louisiana Woman Arrested For Allegedly Embezzling More Than $100K From Church Coffers; Still Has Municipal Finance Job

From the New Orleans Times-Picayune on 5/8/13:

A Violet woman accused of stealing more than $100,000 from the church where she worked is employed by the St. Bernard Parish government's finance department and will remain there. Parish President Dave Peralta confirmed the woman's status with the parish on Wednesday, but said Trinette Johnson is in a clerical position and does not work with cash or checks.

Johnson, 39, surrendered on April 19 to the parish jail after learning that a judge had signed a warrant for her arrest on a felony theft charge, according to the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office. She is accused of embezzling money from the church since 2006.

Johnson was a longtime secretary and account executive for the Greater Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church, 1904 Goodwill Drive in Violet, according to the Sheriff's Office. The church discovered that money was missing after a financial audit. The church's board of trustees reviewed the report from the auditing firm and alleged that Johnson had misappropriated $101,872 in church funds since Aug. 16, 2006, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Minnesota Woman Sentenced For Embezzling At Least $416K From School District; Blames Gambling Addiction

From WXOW on 5/8/13:

CALEDONIA, MN (WXOW)—An Onalaska woman is going to jail for embezzling money from the La Crescent-Hokah School District to feed a gambling addiction.

Mary Chris Turner told police she took the school's credit card to get cash from an ATM to gamble.
She was the accounts payable clerk for the district.

From 2008 to 2012, turner stole $416,000 from the district. But, the district said the full amount lost is closer to $540,000, if you consider their extra costs like attorney fees.
Turner apologized to the district and said she is getting help for her gambling addiction.

But, the judge sentenced her to the maximum one year in jail and she must pay $292, 671 in restitution to the district.
Turner's lawyer said she has been diagnosed as a pathological gambler and is currently being treated for her addiction.

Montana Woman Charged With Embezzling More Than $90K From Sheriff's Association

From the Daily Interlake on 5/9/13:

A former Flathead County Sheriff’s Office employee has been charged with embezzling more than $90,000 from the employees association.

Nicole Fister, 36, was charged Wednesday in Flathead District Court with felony theft. She is accused of stealing the money while she was an office employee at the Sheriff’s Office and secretary/treasurer of the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office Employee Association.
Fister, who worked for the Sheriff’s Office for nine years and whose husband, Nick, is a deputy, was fired as soon as the alleged theft was discovered, according to Sheriff Chuck Curry. She had been secretary/treasurer of the employee association for four years.
She allegedly said she used some of the money for personal expenses and gave some to her son and daughter.

Although Curry said more than $90,000 is missing, the total amount will not be known until a full audit is completed.

The only money stolen was from the employees association, a nonprofit organization that supports charitable causes with money collected from membership dues and fundraising. No public or Sheriff’s Office money was stolen.

Former Teller At Massachusetts Bank Sentenced For Embezzling $378K From Elderly Customers' Accounts

From The Sun-Chronicle on 5/9/13:

A former local bank teller was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for committing bank fraud in connection with her embezzlement of almost $378,000 from elderly customers of Citizens Bank.

Maria DaSilva, 54, of Smithfield, R.I., was ordered to serve 27 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns, followed by three years of supervised release, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office,
In addition, DaSilva was ordered to pay $377,926 in restitution.
In January 2013, DaSilva, a teller at the Citizens Bank branch at Stop & Shop, pleaded guilty to stealing the money from the accounts of three elderly bank customers from February 2008 to January 2012 by forging withdrawal slips on the various accounts they held, according to prosecutors.
During the course of the fraud, DaSilva stole from the account of one elderly victim to cover her misdeeds when a family member of a victim who died came to close the accounts to settle the estate, according to court records.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Virginia Woman Pleads Guilty To Embezzling $155K From Bank

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch on 5/2/13:

Shannon S. Hamilton, 43, of Prince George County, faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine when sentenced Aug. 1 by U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney Jr., though federal sentencing guidelines will likely call for far less punishment.

Her plea agreement calls for her to pay $155,220 in restitution to SunTrust bank.

In pleading guilty, Hamilton admitted that while she was the manager of the South Park branch of SunTrust bank from February 2008 to November 2011, she raided certificates of deposits belonging to a dozen customers.
Hamilton admitted that she used her position as branch manager to misappropriate money from clients through unauthorized transactions with customers’ certificates of deposit and checking accounts.
The scheme included forging customers’ endorsements and changing their account addresses to the bank so the customers would not see unauthorized transactions.

Among other things, she admitted using the money for repayment of her own 401K loan and living expenses and for “robbing Peter to pay Paul” — repaying previous victims by buying new certificates of deposits or depositing money into existing accounts with money stolen from new victims.

Colorado Woman Charged With Embezzling More Than $350K From National Guard Charity

From the Denver Post on 5/7/13:

A former Colorado National Guard Foundation volunteer has been charged with stealing more than $350,000 from the organization's funds.

Ruthann Oppenheim was charged with embezzlement by the Arapahoe County District Attorney, according to a news release Tuesday from the Colorado National Guard Foundation.
The sheriff's office began investigating Oppenheim, the treasurer for the organization from 2009, shortly after the discovery, the release states.

Foundation officials also instituted additional controls over both funds after the discovery, according to the release.

Monday, May 6, 2013

New York State Politician Embroiled In Scandal Is Alleged To Have Embezzled $440K From Escrow Accounts

From ABC News on 5/6/13:

A prominent New York state senator pleaded not guilty on Monday to embezzlement and other charges alleging he brazenly tried to sabotage a federal fraud investigation of his law practice by seeking inside information from an employee of the Brooklyn U.S. attorney's office.

Sen. John Sampson told the employee — who has since been fired — that he wanted to identify cooperators in his case so he could arrange to "take them out," prosecutors said in announcing an indictment against the former Democratic leader in the Senate.

The indictment alleges that Sampson embezzled $440,000 from escrow accounts under his supervision as a court-appointed referee for foreclosures. It says some of the funds were funneled into his losing campaign to become Brooklyn district attorney in 2005.

Update (2/4/14): NY State Senator John Sampson has now been indicted on two counts of embezzlement, five counts of obstruction of justice and two counts of making false statements to the FBI.

According to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:
Beginning in the late 1990s, Sampson served as a court-appointed referee for foreclosure proceedings conducted by the Kings County Supreme Court.
As referee, Sampson controlled escrow accounts holding proceeds of foreclosure sales of Brooklyn properties.  It is alleged that between 1998 and 2008, Sampson embezzled approximately $440,000 in surplus funds from the foreclosure sales of four Brooklyn properties. The prior owners of the Brooklyn properties, and other parties with a lawful interest, had a right to receive the funds allegedly embezzled by Sampson. 
It is reported that Sampson indicated that he had illegally diverted the stolen funds to pay expenses arising from his unsuccessful run for Kings County District Attorney in 2005. ...

New York Woman Faces Jail Time Amid Charges She Conspired To Embezzle $325K From Financial Institution

From the Star Gazette on 5/5/13:

An Owego woman, one of three former employees at Chemung Canal Trust Co.’s Owego branch who admitted embezzling more than $325,000 over eight years, is the only defendant facing the prospect of time in federal prison.

Gwenn Gooding was portrayed in recent sentencing memorandums as someone who abused her position of trust and is unlikely to fully repay what was stolen, but also a working class mother with good character who made poor choices to support her family.

Gooding admitted stealing more than $195,000.

Gooding, 43, former head teller; Megan Horton, 54, former branch manager; and Shannon Moore, 38, a former teller, admitted embezzling funds between December 2004 and September 2011. Horton admitted stealing more than $200,000, and Moore admitted to more than $25,000.

Gooding — described by her attorney Randi Bianco as active in community events like the Strawberry Festival and youth soccer and softball leagues — started stealing bank funds after bills began piling up and the family couldn’t make ends meet, Bianco wrote in sentencing papers.

California Attorney Charged With Bilking Client Accounts Out Of $345K

From the Arcadia Patch on 5/4/13:

Ronald Norton Gottschalk, an Arcadia attorney who was disbarred for allegedly misappropriating money from clients, is due back in court on Monday for a pretrial hearing.

Gottschalk is accused of misusing more than $345,000 from clients and also faces embezzlement charges, according to the California Bar Journal.

Pennsylvania Woman Allegedly Embezzles More Than $100K From Credit Union

From Vindy - Youngstown on 5/4/13:

A federal grand jury has indicted Victoria Rozanski, 59, of Ellwood City, Pa., in the embezzlement of more than $100,000 from a church-affiliated credit union she managed.

She was charged this week with stealing the money from Holy Redeemer Parish Federal Credit Union in Ellwood City between January 2003 and May 2009.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

California Man Arrested For Allegedly Embezzling $183K From Bank Accounts Of Elderly Woman

From The San Diego Union-Tribune on 5/3/13:

Temecula police detectives arrested a bank employee Thursday afternoon in Vista on suspicion of bilking an 88-year-old woman out of a large amount of money while he worked in Temecula, officials stated in a release.
Authorities identified the suspect as Don Leon Foster, 35, of Murrieta. He was booked at Southwest Detention Center in French Valley on suspicion of embezzling from an elder and was being held there Friday with bail set at $183,000, according to jail records.
The arrest stemmed from an investigation into potential embezzlement at a bank branch in Temecula...

Friday, May 3, 2013

Authorities Seek North Carolina Man Suspected Of Embezzling More Than $100K From Employer

From the Asheville Citizen-Times on 5/2/13:

City police are looking for a man they say stole more than $100,000 from a local business.

Quincy Albert Brock, 38, of Barnardsville, is wanted on two counts of embezzlement. Brock worked at Staffing Consultants from January 2011 to September 2012. The alleged offenses happened in November 2011 and August 2012, according to arrest warrants.

Brock is described as a white male, weighing 220 pounds and standing 5 feet, 10 inches tall with brown hair and blue eyes. He has family in Bardnardsville and is believed to be on the eastern coast of the state.

Anyone who knows Brock’s location or has information about the case is urged to call the Police Department at 252-1110 or Crime Stoppers at 255-5050.

California Man Indicted On Charged He Embezzled $676K From Bank

From the FBI on 4/29/13:

Ethan George Banaszak, 34, of Cameron Park, was arraigned today on charges of bank embezzlement, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. Banaszak pleaded not guilty to the charges; he was released on a $75,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell, Jr. for a status conference on May 17, 2013.

On Thursday, April 25, 2013, a federal grand jury returned an eight-count indictment charging Banaszak with embezzling thousands of dollars from his employer, a federally insured bank.

According to court records, Banaszak made more than $660,000 in unauthorized withdrawals from bank customers’ accounts and took $16,000 cash from the bank’s vault.

Pennsylvania Woman Accused Of Embezzling At Least $100K From Credit Union

From TimesOnline on 5/2/13:

....  Victoria Rozanski (is) facing federal embezzlement charges.
Rozanski, 59, of 807 Jefferson Ave., Ellwood City, was indicted Wednesday in federal court on charges of embezzling from a federally insured credit union.

She was accused of taking $100,000 from the now-defunct Holy Redeemer Parish Federal Credit Union between January 2003 and May 2009.

Her husband, Gary Rozanski, is a former member of Ellwood City Area School Board.

Connecticut Man Charged With Looting Rhode Island Non-Profit He Founded To The Tune Of More Than $1 Million

From The Boston Globe on 5.3.13:

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The founder of a nonprofit sports institute once located at the University of Rhode Island used more than $1 million of the organization’s money for unapproved compensation and personal expenses, according to a criminal indictment unsealed Friday.
Daniel E. Doyle, Jr. is charged with 18 counts of embezzlement, obtaining money under false pretenses, forgery and filing false documents. Rhode Island state police and the office of Attorney General Peter Kilmartin launched an investigation in February 2012 after an audit found the Institute for International Sport couldn’t account for how it spent most of a $575,000 legislative grant. The state gave the institute more than $7.3 million between 1988 and 2011.
Doyle, a resident of West Hartford, Conn., pleaded not guilty Friday during an initial appearance in District Court in Providence after turning himself in. ....
The 64-year-old is also accused of using unauthorized signatures on the institute’s annual reports filed with the Rhode Island secretary of state’s office between 2005 and 2009, and using false pretenses to obtain money from the Hassenfeld Foundation — run by philanthropist and former Hasbro Inc. CEO Alan Hassenfeld — that was supposed to be designated for the construction of an institute building on URI’s campus.  ...

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Former Sioux Tribal Chairman in South Dakota Sentenced For Embezzling $346K

From the Aberdeen News on 5/1/13:

The former chairman of the Heipa/Veblen District of the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Oyate has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for embezzling money from the district.

Lloyd LaBelle Jr., 53, must spend three years on supervised release after he gets out of prison. He must report to prison no later than June 4. He must also pay a $100 special assessment and, with others involved in the case, pay $345,965 in restitution.

The four people charged in the case, all former elected district officials, would issue checks to themselves that they weren't entitled to for their service. Sometimes, they would meet at a casino, issue the checks and immediately cash them, federal Judge Charles Kornmann said at a previous hearing for one of the defendants. The money was stolen between January 2007 and January 2009, according to court documents.

District money is supposed to be used to benefit the youth, elderly and disabled members of the district.

Former Hospital Worker In Upstate NY Charged With Embezzling As Much As $1 Million; Blames Addiction To Painkilers

From the Syracuse Post Standard on 5/1/13:

A former St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center manager has admitted stealing money from the envelopes of patients buying television and phone service over 11 years.

Bonnie Simson, 42, of Manlius, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal charge of embezzling from a program receiving federal funds.

Simson was indicted in October 2011 on charges of stealing between $800,000 and $1 million from payments that patients made to get phone and TV service in their rooms.

Simson stole the money to support an extreme addiction to pain-killers, Carroll has said in court.

Texas Woman Sentenced In $6 Million Bank Embezzlement Case

From KWTX on 5/1/13:

Reporter: Paul J. Gately

WACO (May 1, 2013)--Mary Helen (Murty) Lane, 57, the former vice president of the Whitney 1st National Bank, was sentenced to prison Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Waco in a case stemming from the theft of more than $6 million from the bank.

U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith, Jr., sentenced Lane to seven years in federal prison, followed by five years on supervised release, and ordered her to pay $6,090,784.31 in restitution and a $100 special assessment to the court.

Lane pleaded guilty March 7 to embezzling more than $6 million from Whitney 1st National Bank over a period of years.

Lane was charged in a federal information that alleged that over a period of 10 years she stole large amounts of cash from the bank's safe and originated false bank documents to cover the thefts.

Lane was employed by the bank for 27 years and she resigned her position as vice president in January 2012.

The charging documents say Lane used most of the cash to finance gambling trips to Las Vegas, Nevada and Shreveport, La.

The FBI also said that when Lane returned from gambling trips she gave her fellow employees $100 bills which she claimed came from her winnings....

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Colorado Man Accused Of Embezzling More Than $1.8 Million From Employer

From the Daily Camera on 4/30/13:

Ex-Celestial Seasonings manager pleads not guilty in $1.8M embezzlement case

A former Celestial Seasonings distribution manager accused of embezzling more than $1.8 million from the Boulder-based tea company over five years has pleaded not guilty and will stand trial in September on 14 felony charges, according to court officials.

Jeffrey Michael Wagner, 43, of Erie, has been charged with theft over $20,000, income tax evasion, five counts of filing false tax returns and seven counts of forgery.


According to investigators, Wagner -- who worked for Celestial Seasonings from 2006 until June when he was fired for "work performance issues" -- created a fake vendor named "JDW" in 2007 and began authorizing invoices to the fictitious company.

Celestial Seasonings estimates that over the course of the scam, it sent $1.8 million in payments to JDW that ended up in Wagner's bank accounts, according to court records.

According to court documents, the bogus company listed Wagner's cell phone number as contact information, and the bank routing number matched the routing number of Wagner's personal account where Celestial Seasonings deposited his paychecks.