Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Owasso Parent-Teacher Group Treasurer Charged With Embezzlement

Prosecutors have charged an Owasso mother with embezzlement.

Detectives say 33-year-old Christy Bratton served as treasurer for the Mills Elementary Action Club and stole $4,255.24 from the parent-teacher group.

An audit last month revealed money was missing and detectives turned their case over to Tulsa County prosecutors.

An arrest warrant was issued for Bratton on Wednesday.

Documents say Bratton took the money for her own use and benefit without the consent of Owasso Public Schools or the Mills Action Club.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Kennewick woman's embezzlement trial set for Dec. 1

A Kennewick woman charged with embezzling thousands of dollars from a baseball organization and a school booster club is set for trial Dec. 1.

Sonja D. Stites-Molnaa pleaded innocent Thursday in Benton County Superior Court in the two separate cases.

The 48-year-old mother faces one count each of first- and second-degree theft, both including the aggravating circumstance that it was a major economic offense.

Prosecutors allege Stites-Molnaa was the volunteer treasurer for Kennewick American Legion Baseball when she made $10,428 in unauthorized withdrawals from the organization's main account. The theft reportedly occurred between September 2011 and April 2014.

Additionally, Stites-Molnaa failed to deposit any money from concession sales into a separate account in 2012, court documents said. However, she repeatedly told the board that the balance was $1,000 when it actually was $13.37, documents said.

Some of the missing money went to payments for her Benton PUD utility bill and personal cellphone, along with casinos and retailers in Las Vegas, documents said.

Stites-Molnaa also was president of the Kennewick High School Booster Club when she was given at least $3,774 in cash to deposit but failed to do so, Deputy Prosecutor Kristin McRoberts said.

Stites-Molnaa told other booster club members that the larger deposits of $2,133 and $1,164 were in her safe at home, court documents said.

She claimed she would make arrangements to get those deposits to the club's treasurer but never did, documents said.

During both investigations, Stites-Molnaa reportedly told Kennewick detectives she is not good with handling her finances.

Stites-Molnaa told the court she is employed, but said she supports her two sons. She was appointed attorney Michelle Alexander of Kennewick.

She is out of custody on her personal recognizance and is allowed to travel in the state.

Read more here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2014/09/25/3171468/kennewick-womans-embezzlement.html#storylink=cpy

Friday, September 26, 2014

Tulsa Pastor Accused Of Embezzlement Won't Step Down

A Tulsa pastor won't step down, after he's accused of embezzling almost a million dollars.
Willard Jones pleaded not guilty to the charges and he's not bending to pressure from church members to resign.

Reverend Jones may not be stepping down, but according to those inside the meeting, he will be taking a sabbatical from the pulpit. Some members of the church say that's just not enough.

Church member Donald Rose said, "I am separating from this church. I'm gone. I'm done."

There was much outrage after a meeting with church leaders at the Greater Cornerstone Church.

Members said Jones, indicted for stealing almost a million dollars from a community center they supported, walked into the meeting and sat silently as leaders from other area churches made the announcement that Jones would be taking a sabbatical but not stepping down.

"I'm just hurt, I don't know what else to say besides I am, I'm so disappointed, I cannot believe what happened here,” said member Geraldine Freeman.

She has been a member for more than ten years and left the meeting visibly disappointed along with several others who said they're not coming back.

"We're leaving, and we're letting them just do whatever they want to do until this place is probably gonna be bankrupt,” Rose said. "I'm sorry I'm so angry, I'm just disgusted and tired of the shenanigans."

News On 6 has learned that about 20 years ago Jones spent time in prison after being convicted of larceny.

His next court date is set for October 20th.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ex-business manager sentenced for stealing money from suburban Chicago school to gamble

A judge has sentenced a suburban Chicago man for embezzling nearly $50,000 from a Catholic high school and spending the money to gamble, as well as to fund trips to Las Vegas and Atlantic City, Kane County state's attorney's office said Monday.

Kevin J. Carew, 36, of Aurora, was given four years' probation and ordered to repay $45,000 to Rosary High School, where he worked as the business manager, according to prosecutors. Circuit Judge John Barsanti also barred Carew from entering gambling establishments.

"In stealing from a small, religiously affiliated school that seeks to teach its students to be responsible and ethical citizens, Mr. Carew's selfish acts placed an unnecessary burden on Rosary High School," Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon said in a statement.

Carew embezzled the money from Rosary's operations account from June 2010 to September 2012, prosecutors said. He pleaded guilty in June to one count of theft from a school.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

No contest plea in pastor’s embezzlement case

A West Michigan pastor who was charged with embezzlement entered a plea agreement with prosecutors Friday.

Gary Petersen was supposed to go on trial on two felony embezzlement charges Friday, but instead entered a plea agreement. Petersen pleaded no contest to larceny in a building and an embezzlement charge was dropped.

Under the plea deal reached with prosecutors, Petersen will pay $4,000 in restitution. He will also be sentenced to probation, but will not be facing jail time.

According to court documents, Petersen used money from Wellspring Church in Hudsonville to pay for personal vacations without the church’s knowledge.

School secretary charged with embezzlement no longer with ABSS in Vermont

A former lead secretary charged with embezzling from the middle school where she worked, is no longer with the Alamance-Burlington School System.

Ruby Homer Blalock, 47,of 420 Hoover Road, Mebane, resigned from her job at Hawfields Middle School on Aug. 22, said ABSS public information officer Jenny Faulkner. According to the Mebane Police Department, Blalock was charged Thursday with two felony counts of embezzlement by a public official or trustee.

Blalock allegedly embezzled $650 in football camp funds and $580 in cheerleading camp and sponsorship funds that belonged to the school system, according to an arrest warrant.

She is accused also of embezzling $732.62 in payroll time between May 1 and Aug. 20 by submitting 44.67 hours of work on her time sheet that she didn’t work.

Lt. Jeremiah Richardson said ABSS’ central office contacted Mebane police with concerns about Blalock’s time sheets and “issues with some fundraising accounts” at the school.

Police said as part of her job, Blalock was responsible for depositing some of the money collected through school functions. She allegedly never deposited $1,230.

Faulkner said Blalock was lead secretary at Hawfields Middle School starting in August 2009, with an annual salary of $27,920.04. From March 1999 until May 2006, she was lead secretary at Williams High School.

After being interviewed by Mebane police, Blalock was later informed that charges had been filed, and she turned herself in to police.

She posted a $2,500 cash bond Thursday.

MHS Athletic Director, 2 Others Plead Guilty to Embezzlement in Virginia

Monticello High School athletic director Fitzgerald Barnes admitted in Charlottesville Federal Court Friday to being part of a bid rigging scheme when buying sports equipment for his school's teams.

The fraud also involves David Deane, vice president of Albemarle County-based Downtown Athletics, and Charles Phillips, an equipment vendor in Maryland. All three men pleaded guilty, each to one federal misdemeanor charge.

The case – and - fraud may extend back for years. From 2008 to 2010, federal prosecutors say, Barnes, Deane, and Phillips schemed to get around Albemarle County's policy that requires three competitive bids for purchases over $1,000.

Investigators say the men arranged for Monticello High School to get two fictitious bids, and one lower one from Downtown Athletics, to insure Downtown Athletics would get the business. The purchases involved athletic apparel and equipment all bound for Monticello High School.

"Based on what we learned from the U.S. attorney office they said that there has not been any financial injury to the school system,” said Matthew Haas, assistant superintendent of Albemarle County Public Schools.

In court Friday morning, all three men waived the right to be indicted and go to trial, instead admitting their parts and pleading guilty to the bid-rigging plan.

Barnes, who is also a Louisa County supervisor, will pay a $750 fine and is on administrative leave as athletic director at Monticello, pending a review by the school system. Phillips will pay a $350 fine and Dean's fine is $1,500.

Department of Justice, United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy Western District of Virginia Press Release

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA – Three men, including the athletic director at Monticello High School and the vice president of Downtown Athletic Store, pled guilty this morning in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia to a federal misdemeanor charge related to bid rigging.

In separate hearings this morning in Federal Court, Fitzgerald Arnette Barnes, 50, of Louisa, Va., David Mayhew Deane, 54, of Keswick, Va., and Charles Albert Phillips, 48, of Annapolis, Md., waived their right to be indicted and pled guilty to a one-count Information charging each with one count of knowingly embezzling money belonging to the United States.

“When school officials spend taxpayer dollars, they must comply with procurement rules that encourage competition and ensure that schools obtain the best possible price,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “These three individuals worked together to circumvent these important procurement regulations by creating dummy bids for athletic apparel and equipment. This case demonstrates our continuing commitment to ensuring that public funds are responsibly handled.”

Barnes, the athletic director at Monticello High School, has admitted to being involved with Deane, the Vice President of Downtown Athletic, and Phillips, the Vice President of Sales for Team Distributor, a sports apparel retailer in Maryland, in a scheme to fix bids on athletic apparel purchased for Monticello

The three have admitted that between August 2008 and August 2010 they fraudulently created price bids that were used as the basis for contracts involving the sale of athletic equipment and apparel from Downtown Athletic to Monticello High School. Albemarle County policy requires a bid from three different vendors when entering into contracts with private companies for goods and services which cost more than $1000.

Over the course of several years, Barnes directed Deane to obtain and submit to Monticello High School the three required bids, one bid for Downtown Athletic and two representing other, fictitious retailers, ensuring Downtown Athletic would be awarded the contract.

On several occasions, Deane contacted Phillips and asked him to also submit false bids to Monticello High School that were higher than the bid submitted by Downtown Athletic Store. After receiving the two false and one authentic bid, Barnes awarded multiple contracts for the sale of athletic apparel and equipment to Deane and Downtown Athletic.

Following today's guilty plea hearing, all three defendants were sentenced. Phillips was ordered to pay a $350 fine, Barnes was ordered to pay a $750 fine and Deane was ordered to pay a $1,500 fine.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy and Assistant United States Attorney Ronald Huber prosecuted the case for the United States.