Sunday, January 31, 2010

La Crosse, Wisconsin Diocese priest accused of embezzlement

A priest has been accused of embezzling almost $200,000 from the Diocese of La Crosse and two Crawford County parishes, according to the Crawford County Sheriff's Department. The Rev. Robert Chukwu, 59, was arrested today in La Crosse and faces a charge of theft from a business setting of more than $10,000 when he appears in Crawford County Circuit Court.
Diocese attorney Jim Birnbaum informed Crawford County District Attorney Tim Baxter on Jan. 15 that Chukwu had taken $196,000 from St. Mary Parish in Gays Mills and St. Philip Parish in Soldiers Grove and the La Crosse Diocese, according to the sheriff's department.
Chukwu, who holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and Nigeria, confessed to Birnbaum and another priest that he invested parish and diocese money in Nigeria for a better interest rate rather than sending it to the diocese, the department stated.
Along with the funds, Chukwu sent a 40-foot container filled with artificial flowers, candlesticks, pedestal tables, clothing and other items purchased locally to his family, a nun and a school in Nigeria, the department stated.
The items were purchased using insurance money and donations from the parishes and diocese for damages to the church from the 2007 flood, according to the department.
Chukwu is in the Crawford County Jail pending a court appearance.
He was transferred to La Crosse on Jan. 19 to "insure the necessary independence and integrity of the investigation," according to a diocese statement.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

71-year-old Waterford, Michigan woman arraigned on embezzlement charges after church says she stole from collection plates

A 71-year-old Waterford woman has been arraigned on embezzlement charges after police say she had been stealing from a Pontiac church's collection plates a short time after she began volunteering to help count its offerings.

Sally Crake was arrested in December with an unexplained $800 on her person. Surveillance cameras in St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church were placed in the volunteer area after suspicions about collection receipts not adding up arose.
Crake appeared in front of Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Rae Lee Shabot on Tuesday

Friday, January 29, 2010

Minister sentenced to year in jail / He embezzled more than $1,400 from Layton, Utah church

A judge has ordered a minister, described by his victim as "a wolf in minister's clothes," to serve a year in jail for embezzling more than $1,400 from Christian Life Center in Layton.

The Rev. Kyle McCarty, 39, appeared in 2nd District Court in Farmington on Monday for a sentencing hearing on a class A misdemeanor theft.
He was originally charged with a third-degree felony theft, but pleaded to the reduced charge Aug. 31. He was originally set to be sentenced Nov. 9.
His attorney, Camille Neider, said her client was prepared to pay back the money and that McCarty was willing to do community service in Ohio, where he lives now.
"We have no issues with the facts," Neider said. "He admits taking property that wasn't his and for missing the other four court dates."
Judge Jon Memmott sentenced McCarty to serve one year in Davis County Jail and set a review date for April 19.
The Rev. Dr. Myke Crowder, senior pastor, spoke at the hearing before McCarty was sentenced.
He said McCarty has moved "from one church to another in brief stays, costing thousands of dollars to churches and leaving a trail of damage and unpaid bills reflecting negatively on the local church -- all as a 'minister.' "
McCarty had been hired in 2007 as the Christian Life Center's worship leader and oversaw the music department, Crowder said.
Church officials had done a background check on McCarty but found nothing because no other church had filed charges, he said.
Within three months, the church's accounting staff noticed problems with the accounts and reported it to Crowder.
Crowder confronted McCarty, who threatened to file sexual harassment charges on behalf of his wife against Crowder.
Crowder said he did not back down and McCarty did file those charges with the state's Equal Opportunity Division.
When the charges were investigated, McCarty withdrew his claims, admitting he made them up, Crowder said.
McCarty is a "fraud, but more importantly, an ever-present danger to all Christian communities," Crowder said. He said he has learned over the past year, since McCarty's arrest, that other churches are aware of McCarty's actions but have been afraid to warn other pastors.
After the hearing, Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said, "Pastor Crowder has integrity and courage."
Rawlings said Crowder was able to articulate in the courtroom the impact of McCarty's crimes, not only on himself but on the church and the school, Layton Christian Academy.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wayne Township, Indiana PTO President arrested for embezzlement

A Wayne Township PTO president has been arrested in connection with charges accusing her of embezzling more than $4,000 via 79 unauthorized charges on a debit card.

Maplewood Elementary School assistant principal Richard Hollinghead first reported the money missing to Wayne Township School Police on January 8. Principal Mora Clark told detectives that the school suspected PTO president Angela Evans of making unauthorized withdrawals.
Detectives spoke with Evans who told them she had a personal account at the same bank and must have used the wrong debit card. But, detectives say, Evans used the PTO card for a purchase at a Aerospatiale in August 2009. She realized the mistake and told detectives it was “an honest mistake.”
But it didn’t stop there, according to court documents Evans continued to use the card even though she knew it was wrong.
“Angela Evans did admit even though she knew she had used the business debit card she did not repay the money back to the Maplewood PTO account.”
Evans told detectives she was “sorry for what (she) had done and was willing to pay back all of the money owed to the Maplewood PTO.”

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

BYU employee guilty of $200,000 computer thefts

A former Brigham Young University employee pleaded guilty Thursday to theft charges for stealing computers and selling them online.

Allen Scott Harris, 40, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft and two counts of communications fraud, both second-degree felonies. An additional six felonies were dismissed as part of a plea deal. He faces a sentence of one to 15 years in prison for each charge when he is sentenced March 11.
Judge James Taylor advised Harris of his rights and reminded him that he has the discretion on Harris’s sentence and could choose to run the sentences on each charge consecutively.
“It could effectively be four to 60,” Taylor said.
Prosecutor Craig Johnson said one theft charge is associated with stealing laptop computers, and the other stems from the theft of toner cartridges. The communications fraud charges resulted from communication with the buyers of the stolen items. Johnson said as part of Harris’s job at BYU Broadcasting, he bought laptops to give to employees between June 2008 and February 2009.
“Instead of turning those over to those people, he sold them on eBay and other sites,” he said.
Harris pocketed the money from the sales for himself and did so again when he sold the toner cartridges, Johnson said. In all, nearly 50 laptops, 80 computer monitors and 175 printer cartridges were bought with university money and sold for Harris’s gain.
“We have a stipulated amount of $200,000 of embezzlement,” Johnson told Judge Taylor.
BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said previously that Harris had an administrative role in the computer support department for BYU Broadcasting. He worked for the university from September 2002 until he resigned in February 2009.
Jenkins said there were concerns from employees about Harris’s activity, and the thefts were discovered during a routine internal audit.
Johnson said Harris and his attorney approached the case professionally and cooperated to determine to extent of the damages and come to a resolution. Both sides had several meetings with BYU to go through records and determine the losses.
Attorneys set Harris’s court hearing far apart because it was anticipated that a lot of legwork would need to be done in the case, Johnson said. There were large amounts of paperwork to go through and serial numbers that had to be tracked to find the computers.
“This was a large accounting project,” he said.
Although $200,000 was lost by the university, Johnson said Harris pocketed less himself because he sold the computers at reduced prices. Harris has agreed to pay $200,000 in restitution, as the stolen merchandise will likely not be found.
“Most of them were not recovered,” Johnson said. “They are throughout the 50 states.”
Johnson said it was important to recover the money for the university because the loss is felt throughout the valley. Many residents support the university either through money to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, through tuition money or through other avenues.
“Just about everyone in Utah County is a victim in some way,” he said.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Financial ‘irregularity’ under investigation in Clinton, Iowa School District

Clinton Community School District officials say they are cooperating with a law enforcement investigation of a “serious financial irregularity” involving the school district.

School board members and Superintendent Richard Basden held a news conference Monday at the Clinton County Attorney’s Office about the investigation.
School board president Jim McGraw said the irregularity was uncovered within the past week as part of a focused internal review conducted by school district staff. He said the situation is being investigated by the Clinton Police Department, Clinton County Attorney’s Office and federal authorities.
School district representatives declined to comment further on the investigation or the amount of money involved. Police Chief Brian Guy and Clinton County Attorney Mike Wolf said the district is cooperating fully with the investigation, but also declined to comment further.
The district is in the middle of a change in the position of district business manager. Current business manager Gayle Isaac resigned earlier this month after accepting a similar job in Newton, Iowa.
Jan Culbertson, business director of the Central Community School District in DeWitt, was hired last week as Isaac’s replacement.
She said Monday that Clinton school officials told her during her interview process that there might be a potential problem.
“All I know is that they’re working on it,” she said.
Culbertson said the problem had nothing to do with Isaac, who is leaving in March, or his decision to take another job. Isaac could not be reached for comment Monday.
Last week, the district announced a proposal to cut about $1.9 million from its budget for 2010-11 due to reductions in state funding. The district’s current budget calls for $51.8 million in expenditures.
Among the cuts on the list is the elimination of an assistant budget manager at an annual salary of $60,000.
The proposal includes cuts in staff, moving the district’s administrative offices and combining Washington and Lyons middle schools into the Washington building, which would allow the district to move the Lincoln Alternative School into the Lyons building and sell the Lincoln building.
At Monday night’s school board meeting, the board heard comments from about 25 people about the budget reduction plan and turned down the idea of combining the middle schools.
Officials stressed several times during the meeting that the financial irregularities under investigation will not impact the budget this year or the discussions for next budget year.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Former Wellsburg, West Virginia church treasurer sentenced in embezzlement case

A Wellsburg man has been sentenced to two years' supervised probation, during which he will be required to repay about $48,000 he embezzled from the church where he was treasurer.
William Roy Bowers, 67, of 2003 Main St. received the sentence after entering a plea agreement arranged by his attorney, David Jividen, and Stephen Vogrin, an assistant Ohio County prosecutor who was named special prosecutor for the case.
Vogrin said members of the church involved in the investigation were satisfied with the agreement because it allows Bowers to raise the money he had taken.
Brooke County Prosecutor David B. Cross had recused himself from the case because Bowers lived near him.
Under West Virginia law, the charge of embezzlement carries penalties of one to 10 years in the state penitentiary or up to a year in jail and a fine no more than $2,500.
A criminal complaint filed against Bowers by West Virginia State Police said Bowers had been a treasurer for Wellsburg First Baptist Church for several years until October 2008.
State Police said after he left the position, the church's new treasurer found several checks written to him on the church's account that didn't match bills for utilities and miscellaneous expenses paid by the church.
It was estimated that Bowers embezzled $12,543 from the church in 2005, $11,360 from it in 2006, $13,315 in 2007 and $10,802 in 2008.
State Police said Bowers confessed to writing checks on the church's account for personal expenses, saying he'd tried to repay some of it through church offerings but it got out of control.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Charges filed in Two Rivers, Minnesota $65,000 school theft

A former Lake Superior School District employee faces three felony counts after admitting she stole money from the lunch program at Two Harbors High School, a Lake County criminal complaint filed last month says. It accuses Sherry Rae Udenberg of embezzlement of an estimated $65,275 from the district from 2007 to 2009. Udenberg worked as a financial assistant and food service coordinator for the Lake Superior School District until suddenly resigning in October.
Udenberg is charged with felony counts of theft, embezzlement, and forgery. If convicted on all three counts, she could get maximum penalties of 25 years in jail and $50,000 in fines. She was not arrested and no bail was set. She isn’t considered a flight risk, Sheriff Carey Johnson said.
Earlier this month, Udenberg was officially charged in Lake County District Court and awaits a trial date. It isn’t clear where Udenberg is currently living. She did not return phone calls asking for comment.
According to a Lake County Sheriff’s Office investigation and court records, the district filed a fraud complaint Oct. 30, two days after Udenberg left a resignation letter on her desk.
Business manager Susan Mitchell then began looking into bank deposits Udenberg was responsible for and told an investigator she believed Udenberg had “incrementally stolen thousands of dollars” from the district, mostly from the food service fund.
Udenberg worked for the district for 13 years. The court document says she admitted to stealing funds beginning in March 2007 until her departure last fall.
Deputy Erik Furo interviewed Udenberg at her rural Two Harbors home and he reported that Udenberg admitted to taking money from the lunch program. Furo reports that she told him she took money in the district office from high school office staff. The money was from students for lunch accounts. Udenberg, 41, was responsible for recounting the funds and then depositing them into the district’s bank account. Student accounts were credited but Udenberg hid the money with falsified documents, the court record stated.
Superintendent Phil Minkkinen said insurance will cover the missing money and student’s lunch accounts were not affected because high school staff credited accounts assuming the money would be deposited by Udenberg. Lunch money collected from students in Silver Bay and Minnehaha Elementary in Two Harbors was directly deposited into the bank, Minkkinen said, and didn’t go through Udenberg.
Deputy Furo said he was told by Udenberg that she only deposited checks and coins into the district’s Lake Bank account. She said she took only cash, Furo wrote.
When Furo said the amount estimated to be missing was about $65,000, “Udenberg said that she did not think it was that much, but at this point could not dispute it.”
Minkkinen was obviously dismayed by Udenberg’s alleged actions. “Have you ever felt your stomach fall,” Minkkinen said of his reaction when he first found out about the missing funds. “You have to rely on people to be honest.”
Furo reported that Udenberg detailed how she took the funds without being detected. She used her own computer program to mirror the official district accounting program to “make sure everything matched” to cover the missing cash, the report says. She also admitted, Furo reported, to creating a false medical bill of $420 and submitting it to her benefits plan for reimbursement.
Mitchell told Furo there may be other funds missing. Udenberg deleted many of her computer files before leaving the district but they were later recovered. The district reported documents showing the false balance sheets.
Furo asked Mitchell, the business manager, how the district passed a state audit in 2008 if so much money was missing. At the time, Mit-chell told Furo the district was still looking into the records and later said Udenberg likely provided falsified documents to state auditors.
The district has five boxes of documents showing how the money was taken, Furo’s report says.
Fraud “happens in districts, but not frequently,” Minkkinen said. “There’s a potential for all kinds of things to be going on.”
Under district policy that was in place, Udenberg was supposed to count the money and then return it to the original counter who would make the deposit, Minkkinen said. He said the state auditor is happy with how the district is now handling funds, in short, by reinforcing existing policy.
Sheriff Johnson said “it’s always kind of a shock” when something like this happens in a small community and especially when it’s someone in a position of trust. He said it isn’t surprising when a suspect admits wrongdoing. “It’s like a monkey on their back,” he said. “They are so worried and then when they get caught they tell everything just to put it behind them.”
An omnibus hearing, where Udenberg is allowed to hear and dispute evidence, has been set for Feb. 1 in Two Harbors. After that, a trial date will be set.
The charges
Count 1: Felony theft. Maximum sentence of 10 years/$20,000 fine or both.
Count 2: Felony embezzlement of public money. Maximum sentence of 10 years/$20,000 fine or both.
Count 3: Felony forgery. Maximum sentence of 5 years/$10,000 fine or both.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

New Mexico Woman Charged In $3.4 Million School Embezzlement Scheme

A woman long suspected of having stolen nearly $3.4 million from a small school district in Gallina, N.M., has been formally charged with embezzlement.

Kathy Borrego, who was the business manager for Jemez Mountain Schools, a district with 375 students, is accused of writing more than 500 checks to herself, her boyfriend and her daughter over the course of seven years.
"It was a pretty sophisticated scheme. She was in charge of the operations themselves and I think she was misrepresenting to auditors and purposely delaying an audit for many years," said State Auditor Hector Balderas.
Balderas discovered the cooked books last summer. The superintendent of Jemez Mountain schools said Borrego even confessed, but for months no charges had been filed against Borrego.
It's been very frustrating to me. Anytime someone steals $3.4 million from a public school, they should be dealt with swiftly," Balderas said.
Criminal charges were filed on Jan. 13, according to the New Mexico Courts Web site. Borrego faces six counts of embezzlement, one count of improper use of official anthems and four counts of tax evasion.
A civil suit against Borrego was filed on Tuesday. Balderas said the suit is attempting to freeze the assets Borrego allegedly stole.
The civil suit was filed by the school district and the insurance company which paid out a claim to cover the missing money.
They are also suing the private accountants hired by the district for not catching the embezzlement through the years.
District Attorney Angela Spence-Pachecho has been criticized for taking so long to file charges. She did not return News 13's calls requesting comment.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Washington Parent-Teacher Association fears theft bigger than first thought

Members of the Parent-Teacher Student Association here say a former volunteer already accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the organization may have stolen much more than first thought.

"We went down to the bank and we were shocked to see that what we thought was in the bank was not," said Angie Lampkin, co-president of the PTSA.
In November the group discovered more than $58,000 missing from their accounts. Now the group says it looks like thousands of dollars more are gone.
And they learned the embezzlement has been going on much longer than they initially suspected.
In a letter, the PTSA's former treasurer, David Glass, apologized and said he acted out of "sheer personal desperation."
Parents say he used the money to bail out his personal business.
The PTSA board felt was willing to forgive and reconcile with him.
But now they claim records show money missing from as far back as August, 2008 -- almost a full year before Glass claimed he hit rock bottom.
And the PTSA says this wasn't just money taken from bank accounts. In some cases, they say, money was taken directly from school fundraisers, like the time students made several thousand dollars selling cupcakes. That money was taken right out of the till and never deposited.
"I'm angry," said PTSA co-president Anne Medzegian. "I am angry that it's been a lot of work for us to pick up the pieces, and he has not been forthcoming with a lot of the information."
Medzegian and Lampkin said Glass has repaid $45,000. But now they say even if he pays all of it back, they still want him arrested.
Clyde Hill police are investigating the allegations.

The PTSA says they have enough money in the bank to continue programs and grants at the school.

They say they've already taken steps to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Former Mississippi Junior college employee accused of embezzling over $90K from school

A former Jones County Junior College employee is expected to plead guilty to embezzlement charges today in Circuit Court.

A spokesperson for the Jones County District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday that Tracy Laird, 39, of Ellisville, is charged with embezzling over $90,000 from the school while working there between May 1999 and Feb. 27 of last year.
According to court documents, Laird was forced to pay $109,407.96. More than $90,000 of the funds demanded were principal, and the remaining $18,870 represented interest, services performed by a contracted CPA firm and additional investigative costs.
Because Laird was a bonded employee, the college did not lose any of the money she is charged with embezzling.
In a statement following the arrest, State Auditor Stacey Pickering praised Jones County Junior College for handling the matter appropriately.
“I commend the leadership at Jones County Junior College for their efforts in uncovering this scheme to defraud the taxpayers of Mississippi and their proactive efforts to prevent this type of situation from happening in the future,” said Pickering, noting the number of embezzlement cases has climbed due to the poor economy.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Former Granite, Utah School District accountant charged for embezzlement

A former accountant in the Granite School District is under investigation for using school credit cards and checks for personal use, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Police believe Cherie Abeyta embezzled nearly $10,000 using a Churchill Junior High credit card to purchase groceries, appliances and even fireworks.
They say she also personally cashed several thousand dollars in checks meant for the school lunch program.
Granite School District officials tell KSL they first investigated Abeyta several months ago and terminated her employment.
At that time they turned the investigation over to police, who have since found store surveillance videos of Abeyta making the purchases. Police say other items Abeyta bought that were clearly not for school use include steaks, health magazines and whey protein.
Abeyta, 37, now faces a long list of charges, including 14 felonies.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Plainfield, New Jersey Pastor Accused Of Defrauding Immigrants

He told them he was a messenger from God who could save them from deportation, but he turned out to be nothing more than a smooth-talking scam artist, his immigrant victims said.
Enoc Tito Sotelo, 50, a former pastor who ran a church for the Salvation Army in Plainfield, surrendered to authorities in Elizabeth today, a month after being indicted for defrauding immigrants of thousands of dollars with the false promise of green cards,
Sotelo now faces up to 70 years in prison, if convicted of 14 counts of theft by deception. The Peruvian native, who relocated from Plainfield to Kinston, N.C,, forfeited his U.S. passport and was released after posting $2,000 cash bail yesterday.
Hours later, several of his alleged victims revealed how they had been scammed. About 130 immigrants paid Sotelo between $4,000 to $9,000 each for green cards, said Flor Gonzalez, the Hispanic advocate in Plainfield who had advised them to go to police.
Today, only about a dozen people who dared to come forward gathered in Gonzalez’ office to tell their stories. The alleged victims hailed from Paraguay, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador and Peru.
Ricardo Gil, 47, a Mexican who lives in North Plainfield, is a single father raising two sons, ages 12 and 16. He’s a maintenance man for a car dealership, and was desperate for a green card, he said. Sotelo told him he could get a special, achievement-based green card by saying he was a chef, Sotelo told him he knew an attorney in Florida who would fill out the application for him.
In exchange for Sotelo’s efforts, Gil gave the pastor his 1990 Nissan 240Z, a gold necklace, bracelet, ring and $4,200, of which $500 was supposed to go to an evangelical radio station that didn’t exist.
Gi said his fear of getting deported made him believe Sotelo was legitimate.
“We always have to hide,” Gil said. “When I’m in my house and hear a car pull up, and someone knocks…I’m afraid.”
Between June and December of 2005, Sotelo told the immigrants he would help them obtain green cards through a phony attorney named Oscar Ruiz, authorities said.
Sotelo traveled to Florida and met with Ruiz, who let him stay in his home overnight, bought him breakfast and gave him a Bible before they went to the immigration office, where Gil was fingerprinted.
It appears the phony attorney actually did apply on behalf of Gil and others, but failed to reveal the fee for such an application was about $150, not thousands. The receipts, apparently real and stamped with a faded image of the Statute of Liberty, were distributed to the applicants in Plainfield by a woman claiming to be the Florida attorney’s secretary.
The supposed secretary claimed she got her green card this way, Gil said. Soleto’s congregation grew exponentially after that.
He was charismatic, with a ready smile, able to convince a hard-working person to sign away their weekly paycheck, his victims said.
“He was a really nice guy, he would do favors for you,” Michael Lopez said. “He had the ability to convince people quickly. He would see you wearing a gold cross around your neck and say ‘Take it off, that’s of the devil.’”
Yesterday, Lopez held out his two cupped hands to demonstrate how much jewelry Sotelo had collected from the alleged victims after only a year’s time.
Lopez, 24, from Honduras, was here on a temporary work visa but didn’t renew it because he believed he would get a green card through Sotelo.
Victims said Sotelo told them some of the money he collected would go to the Salvation Army, which the organization has denied, said Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow. In a statement yesterday, Nancy Wellbrock, a development director for the New Jersey division of the Salvation Army who serves as a media spokesperson, declined to comment.
“We were not aware of his arrest and therefore we have no comment,” Wellbrock said of Sotelo, who she would not confirm was a Salvation Army employee.
One of Gil’s sisters, Maria, 44, also trusted Sotelo.
“If you have the hope, the dream of having something in this country, you believe,” she said.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Former Lovington, New Mexico School Employee Facing Multiple Embezzlement Charges

A former Lovington school employee is facing charges of embezzling more than $15,000 from the school district.

Lovington police say earlier this month, 43-year-old Jamie Ann Moore turned herself in then posted a $2,000 bond.
Officers tell NewsWest 9, Moore is facing 13 separate charges.
One count of embezzling under five hundred dollars, eleven counts of embezzling over $2,500 dollars, and one count of thief of identity.
You may remember several weeks ago when we told you about the original police report.
Officers claim Jamie Moore wrote a total of 10 fake checks since May while working in the school district's central office.
She allegedly used a fake name, address, and social security number for the checks making them out to an Ann Moore, when in reality, there was no such person working there.
In total, all the checks add up to $15,790 and some change.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ex-treasurer charged with stealing $107,000 from D.C. church

A Laurel man has been accused by federal authorities of stealing more than $100,000 from a Northeast Washington church while he worked as its treasurer.

Michael W. Tibbs, 31, was charged in U.S. District Court in Washington with transportation of stolen money, federal prosecutors wrote in a "criminal information," a charging document that usually signals a plea deal is near.
Tibbs and his attorney could not be reached. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael K. Atkinson declined to comment. The church's pastor, Floyd Patterson, declined an interview request.
The charges were filed Friday but not made public until Tuesday.
Tibbs worked as the treasurer for the Greater St. Paul Baptist Church in the 5700 block of South Dakota Avenue NE from 2003 through 2006, court papers show.
Prosecutors say that Tibbs wrote checks to himself on the church's bank account and used its debit card for personal expenses.
He sometimes noted on the checks' memo lines that the payments were for repairs and funerals, prosecutors wrote.
He also wrote checks to an unidentified person, who deposited the money into an account jointly controlled by Tibbs. They spent the stolen money on personal expenses, prosecutors wrote.
Tibbs is also accused of using the church's debit card to pay for telephone bills, his wedding reception and a wedding cake, prosecutors wrote.
The scam cost the church about $107,445 from January 2004 through October 2006, prosecutors wrote.
To conceal the scam, prosecutors wrote, Tibbs created fraudulent balance sheets and created a phony tax audit for church leaders.
No hearing date has been set.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Chandler, Arizona Police: Woman embezzled $20K from school

Chandler police arrested the finance manager of a charter school Tuesday, alleging she embezzled more than $20,000.

Laurie D. Bassett, 51, was booked on suspicion of 25 counts of forgery and one count each of fraud and theft, according to court records.
Detective David Ramer, Chandler police spokesman, said investigators are looking for Bassett's husband, James Bassett, to arrest him also.
Ramer said that for the last 13 months, Laurie Bassett, Dobson Academy's finance manager, would write false invoices for janitorial supplies and some school supplies and then write checks in her and her husband's names for the invoice amount.
When the check returned to the school, she would then cover their names with correction fluid and replace them with names of school vendors. She would then make a photocopy, which showed no trace of the alteration, and use it as the official record while no one would ever see the original check, Ramer said.
The school conducted an audit and discovered the scheme, which was carried out over 13 months.
"The audit showed a 300 percent increase in janitorial supplies," Ramer said.
The school at 2207 N. Dobson Road in Chandler has 555 kindergarten through eighth-grade students.
It received $3.3 million from the state this school year.
School officials did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
Ramer said police served a search warrant at Bassett's Ahwatukee Foothills home Tuesday and arrested her.
According to court records, Bassett admitted to making false invoices and checks and forging signatures.
Her husband wasn't there when their home was raided.
He is described as 50 years old, white, 6 feet tall and 180 pounds with brown eyes and blond hair.
He works in construction and drives a 1985 Chevrolet van with a license plate

Friday, January 15, 2010

Chicago, Illinois Regional schools superintendent Charles Flowers charged with stealing $376,000 in public funds from bankrupt agency

Charles Flowers, the beleaguered suburban regional school superintendent, brazenly used his taxpayer-funded credit cards for personal expenses and doled out cash advances to his sister and girlfriend, whom he placed on his payroll, State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said Thursday.

Prosecutors alleged Flowers stole $376,000 in public money from the bankrupt Suburban Cook County Regional Office of Education. He was held in custody Thursday after he surrendered to authorities on charges of theft and official misconduct.
"Within months of taking office, this man engaged in a bold and brazen scheme to defraud. It is a repulsive example of public corruption," Alvarez said. "In this case, we have an elected official who is supposed to be working for the taxpayers of Cook County, who apparently had the absurd notion that the taxpayers were working for him."
Flowers, 51, began his term as regional superintendent in July 2007. The office is responsible for overseeing teacher certifications, local school grants, background checks and fingerprinting for public school teachers and employees in suburban Cook County.
According to prosecutors, Flowers made numerous cash advances and credit card purchases that were of a "purely personal nature." They included using his office-issued credit card to buy nearly $800 in plane tickets for his children to travel to Mississippi, authorities said. Flowers also charged thousands of dollars at expensive restaurants and for car rentals and limousine services, authorities said.
"If that was done, he personally paid that money back," his lawyer, Tim Grace, said. "Dr. Flowers possibly made some bad decisions, but they are minor issues."
Flowers also allegedly used office funds to unlawfully make cash advances to employees that were never fully repaid. Those advances included $9,000 to his girlfriend, whom he hired as a school compliance liaison, and $6,000 to his sister, whom he hired as his executive administrative assistant, authorities said.
Prosecutors said Flowers used restricted grant funds to pay two office employees more than $21,000 in consulting fees. Those fees were in addition to their annual salaries of more than $80,000 each, officials said. The investigation alleged that the consultant services were never performed.
Flowers and the agency are fighting a civil suit brought in July by the state's attorney's office for failing to repay a $190,000 loan from the county. The suit says he defrauded the county because he knew the loan could never be repaid because of the agency's shattered finances.
Last year, a state audit found that the agency was $1 million in debt.
Flowers will face additional charges of misapplication of funds Friday, when he is expected to appear at the Cook County courthouse in Maywood, authorities said.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


The Dayville woman who police say pilfered more than $23,000 from an elementary school student activity account she managed has applied for a special probationary program that could leave her with a clean record. Facing the charge of first-degree larceny and the possibility of prison time if convicted, Cathy A. Flerra, 55, made an application with the court last month for accelerated rehabilitation.
Under terms of the program, which is reserved for first-time offenders, a person is placed on probation for up to two years. The charges are dismissed if the person completes the program successfully. There is no indication from prosecutors whether they will challenge the application or if Flerra has made any restitution. Defense attorney Paul Chinigo could not be reached Wednesday for comment.
Flerra was arrested in July after a check from the Killingly Central School Student Activity Account to a T-shirt vendor bounced because the account was overdrawn. The account is used for such things as PTO fundraisers, field trips, bake sales and support of local charities.
An audit of the account revealed Flerra had made unexplained withdrawals from the account totaling $23,271 over a four-year period. Flerra worked for the school for more than 20 years.
Flerra, in an interview with state police, explained she had hit hard financial times after a divorce in 2004. On the verge of losing her house and car, “I got very desperate and made very bad decisions,” according to an arrest warrant affidavit in the case.
Police said she admitted taking money from the fund, paying back money to the account when she could.
“As soon as I get another job, I have all intentions of paying back everything that I took from the fund. I made a terrible mistake and I never intended to hurt anyone,” she said.
Killingly School Superintendent William Silver said Wednesday he has had no contact with Flerra since she resigned, but that after paying a $1,000 deductible, the school recouped the remainder of the missing funds.
Stricter controls, such as requiring two signatures on bank transactions, were among measures taken after the theft, he said.
Flerra is due in appear Feb. 2 in Danielson Superior Court

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Maumee, Ohio church at center of embezzlement scandal

A former employee of the St. Paul's Community Center has been accused of stealing more than $200,000 from the organization.

Lisa Duda has been indicted by a Lucas County grand jury. The theft was uncovered last September when Duda was confronted by the Board of Directors that she had written some unauthorized checks over a five year period totalling over $200,000. She was fired and a police report was filed.
St. Paul's has a program where they help some of their mentally disabled clients pay their bills. According to Tony Thiros, the President of St. Paul Community Center Board of Directors, the money was allegedly stolen from a reserve fund connected to that program. "The monies that were embezzled or stolen came out of 30 accounts and it was a very slick program and it went on for several years," Mr. Thiros said.
The stolen money has been restored to client accounts from other investments held by St. Paul's. Thiros concedes there is little hope of restitution. "What I'm looking for is to make this an example that any individual who works for a non-profit organization in Toledo that you are not going to get away with this," Mr. Thiros said.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Former Iowa State University Employee Sentenced for Embezzlement

A woman accused of embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from Iowa State University was sentenced on Monday, January 4, 2010 to two years of probation.

Pamela Ann Reinig was found guilty by a trial by judge based solely on the state’s evidence against her on Nov. 4. The charge she was convicted of, first-degree theft, is a class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
The sentence was suspended in Reinig’s case by District Court Judge William J. Pattinson, who followed the recommendation of prosecutor Denise Timmons for probation, restitution and a suspended fine.
Reinig was director of the Engineering Communications and Marketing Department at ISU from Jan. 1, 2003 to Dec. 31, 2007. Around December 2007, the ISU Department of Public Safety Police Division became aware of some issues around Reinig’s tenure at ISU. First, an employee who served under her, accused Reinig of falsifying a 2002 evaluation to conceal a promised raise.
Then, on Jan. 10, 2008, ISU police received a report from ISU’s Internal Audit division indicating some discrepancies in Reinig’s record keeping that indicated she may have personally received financial gain from work conducted by ECM employees for outside companies.
Reinig resigned in the face of the investigation, but no charges were filed until a Feb. 27, 2009 report from the Iowa Auditor’s Office, which found $92,495 in undeposited payments, improper disbursements and unsent billings for services, including $58,505 that was paid to Reinig that should have been deposited with ECM.
Reinig was working at her new job with Upper Iowa University as vice president of marketing when ISU announced it had filed charges in the case on Aug. 24, 2009. Reinig originally was charged with first-degree theft and ongoing criminal conduct, a class B felony.
Smith told Pattinson that Reinig resigned her position at Upper Iowa University in December and now works as an unpaid intern with her church.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Former University of Louisville Dean Guilty in Fraud Case

Robert Felner, former University of Louisville dean of education, pleaded guilty on January 8, 2010 to nine federal charges, including income tax evasion, and agreed to serve 63 months in prison in connection with defruading the University of Louisville and another university of $2.3 million.

As part of the plea agreement, Felner will pay restitution of $510,000 to UofL, $1.64 million to the University of Rhode Island and $88,750 to the Rock Island County Council on Addiction in Illinois. Additionally, he agreed to forfeit property to the federal government that he owns in Florida and Illinois, as well as bank accounts of undisclosed values.
Scott C. Cox, one of Felner's attorneys, said Friday that his client decided to accept the plea agreement “because he wants to put this behind him.” Cox said he doesn't like any of his clients “going to prison for one day,” but he said Felner faced a significant risk of getting a tougher sentence had the case gone to trial.
The agreement comes close to ending a case that began in spring 2008, when the University of Louisville reported suspected fraud to federal officials. The investigation involved multiple federal agencies, including the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Internal Revenue Service.
Following Friday's hearing, UofL spokesman Mark Hebert said, “Mr. Felner's guilty plea will prompt few tears on the University of Louisville campus.”
“An extraordinarily talented man has violated the trust of UofL administrators, faculty and staff and, perhaps most importantly, taxpayers. It's time for Mr. Felner to be held accountable for his criminal acts and we're glad that's happening,” he said. “This will close the book on Mr. Felner as far as we're concerned.”
At the University of Rhode Island, where Felner worked before his arrival at UofL in 2003 and which lost the most money in the fraud scheme, officials said they were “cautiously optimistic.”
“We're very much satisfied if this is indeed the disposition of the case, and hopefully there will be restitution to URI,” said Robert Weygand, vice president for administration and finance.
During Friday's hearing, Felner, 59, limited his comments to one-word answers when asked by the judge about his understanding of the proceedings, the plea agreement and his pleas to each of the nine charges. The 10th charge in the indictment is a forfeiture charge, which relates to properties Felner owns in Illinois, Florida and Kentucky.
Through his attorney, Felner declined to comment to The Courier-Journal.
The Felner investigation created a scandal at UofL, where officials initially credited Felner for turning around the College of Education and Human Development by improving teaching preparation and dramatically expanding its involvement in local public schools.
As the investigation proceeded, however, faculty members spoke out against Felner's leadership, saying he was vindictive, manipulative and threatening and drove away talented people. Some of the faculty who had run-ins with Felner attended Friday's hearing, including Thomas Simmons, an education professor.
“I think it's sad,” Simmons said afterward. “The way he treated people at the college was just totally inappropriate.”
Hebert said UofL acknowledges mistakes were made, and noted the university has taken several steps to fix problems identified by the investigation, including a revamping of its grievance process, review of faculty governance procedures and creation of an Ombuds Office to address faculty concerns and complaints. “The university has owned up to its mistakes and we're ready to move on,” he said.
$2.3 million reported taken
According to federal prosecutors, Felner and Schroeder siphoned $2.3 million from grants and contracts that should have gone to UofL and the University of Rhode Island, keeping the money for themselves.
Federal investigators say that between 2001 to 2008, Felner solicited survey business from school districts across the United States. The money from those contracts was supposed to go to the National Center on Public Education and Social Policy, which Felner founded at the University of Rhode Island.
Instead, Felner and Schroeder allegedly diverted about $1million from the Atlanta school district, $326,000 from Buffalo, N.Y., and $375,000 from Santa Monica, Calif., into another center that Schroeder founded in Illinois — and, eventually, into three bank accounts he and Felner controlled.
The surveys were done by the Rhode Island center, but the money never got there, according to the indictment.
The indictment also accuses Felner and Schroeder of sending about $100,000 in grant money from UofL to the Rhode Island center to pay for printing costs of the surveys done for the school districts. The money allegedly taken from UofL involves $450,000 out of a $694,000 federal earmark grant, and $126,000 from other funding sources at the university.
The federal grant from UofL was supposed to support local research on the federal No Child Left Behind Act, but the $450,000 ended up in a bank account in Louisville controlled by Felner and Schroeder, according to prosecutors. Felner ultimately used the money in the account to pay personal expenses and make investments, they said.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Police investigate church embezzling in South Bend, Indiana

Police are investigating a possible embezzlement case at a South Bend church, according to police records.

Officials from Holy Cross and St. Stanislaus Parish have filed two police reports, dated Dec. 12 and Jan. 5, 2010, alleging that one of its employees may have taken money from an after-school program.
The employee allegedly altered checks from parishioners.
South Bend police are investigating, and the parish is conducting an audit of its financial records.
At least one employee has been placed on leave, according to a parish official.
The amount of money allegedly embezzled from the parish exceeds $1,000, according to police reports.
The parish has two churches, Holy Cross Church at 920 Wilber St., and St. Stanislaus, at 415 N. Brookfield St. It also has a school, Holy Cross School, at 1020 Wilber St.
It has about 1,000 parishioners.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Easley, South Carolina church is victim of embezzlement

A local waste management company is not the only organization effected by the actions of Robert Brent Bryson, recently for embezzlement in a separate case.

Missing money from Calvary Hill Baptist Church recently came to light, according to a State Law Enforcement Agency official.
Calvary Hill Baptist Church officials allowed Bryson to pay back the almost $100,000 he took from the church and made no formal report on the incident, said Jason Wells, Special Agent with SLED.
"The church allowed (Bryson) and his family to pay back the money," Wells said. "No one would have ever known about this if it wasn't for the (incident involving the business)."
Last week, Bryson was sentenced to eight years for embezzling $300,000 from Easley's RJM Waste Equipment.
Reverend Paul Turner, who was the pastor at Calvary Hill Baptist Church during the time that Bryson's embezzlement of funds, said he would not comment on either the crime or the church's response.
"I would rather not talk about this," Turner said. "Our church took care of that problem on our own, to further God's glory."
Rodney Jeanes, current pastor of Calvary Hill, said that the situation was handled within the church.
"This happened before I came," he said. "But I have been told of this by several trusted members and it was handled internally."
Jeanes said that no one in the church had any indication that Bryson would take money from RJM Waste Equipment.
"I do not approve or condone Brent's actions, and, as you know, there are consequences to our actions," he said. "There is forgiveness, but we still live with those consequences of our actions."

Winchester, Virginia woman admits church embezzlement

A Winchester woman faces up to eight years in prison for embezzling more than $300,000 from a church and an affiliated school.
Lois Beatrice Clemons is scheduled to be sentenced March 4 after pleading guilty in Frederick County Circuit Court on January 5, 2010 to 55 counts of embezzlement.
The 57-year-old Clemons formerly worked as a bookkeeper for Shenandoah Valley Baptist Church and Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy. According to court docu-ments, she embezzled the money from December 2003 to January 2009.
Frederick County Commonwealth’s Attorney Glenn Williamson says Clemons used the money to buy real estate and a deck for her house, and to pay for tuition for her children. She also bought cars for her children.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Judge allows California church's lawsuit against former pastor to move forward

A Los Angeles judge tentatively ruled on January 5, 2010 that a lawsuit can move forward against a prominent black church pastor accused of misusing church assets.
Frederick Murph of Brookins Community African Methodist Episcopal Church and his wife, Rachel, are accused of encumbering church properties for more than $6 million.
Judge Rolf M. Treu said he was not inclined to throw out the complaint filed July 29 by the church.
Defense lawyers contended that the church's Book of Discipline sets guidelines that the church must follow in taking any legal action against a pastor. Treu said defense lawyers failed to show how the procedures apply to a former pastor or Murph's wife, who is not a member of the clergy.
The judge did throw out an embezzlement claim against the couple, saying there is no such action in civil law. He said church lawyers would have to provide more information to support fraud and breach-of-contract claims.
Treu scheduled a hearing tomorrow on his tentative rulings. The Murphs have denied wrongdoing.
According to the complaint, Murph was the pastor at the Brookins church from 1996 until his transfer to another South Los Angeles congregation in November 2008.
The new Brookins pastor, Joseph Nixon, discovered the alleged encumbrances and determined that only Murph had access to the church records and that he had not followed internal rules to get approval for any such actions with the steward or trustee boards, according to the complaint.
"Nixon discovered that Murph took out three mortgages from the Bank of America encumbering four of Brookins' properties, including the main church facility,'' the lawsuit states. "Murph committed fraud by forging signatures or church members to loan documents and creating resolutions from Brookins' trustee board and church conference ostensibly authorizing these loans ...,'' according to the complaint.
Murph also used $1.3 million of the financing for his personal use, the lawsuit states.
Rachel Murph "assisted her husband in this fraud,'' according to the lawsuit.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Scam hits Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, California hard

Congregation official held; hundreds of thousands lost

The arrest of an Ontario man accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from church coffers has shocked and angered the Calvary Chapel Chino Hills community.
Police in late December arrested Farrukh Ahmed, 47, at his Doral Avenue home on suspicion of felony burglary and embezzlement charges.
The FBI, which is investigating the theft, reported that between $720,000 and $960,000 was stolen over four years, Calvary Chapel pastor Jack Hibbs said.
"He was actually caught by one of our staff members with cash in hand," Hibbs said.
Hibbs announced the loss on December 27, 2009 to the congregation.
"They were shocked and disheartened and they were very tearful," Hibbs said. "They felt very violated."
The Chino Police Department was initially contacted by Ahmed on April 17 about theft and embezzlement of church money, Chino spokeswoman Michelle Van Der Linden said. Ahmed had been a church administrator.
"At that time, there was no suspect information available, and the subsequent investigation did not yield any leads," Van Der Linden said.
Hibbs said evidence included tithe envelopes that were found to have been opened.
Hibbs on Dec. 8 notified the Police Department that Ahmed might have been responsible for the theft of church funds reported in April.
The subsequent investigation led to Ahmed's arrest.
Ahmed joined Calvary Chapel about 12 years ago and regularly attended
services, Hibbs said.
Ahmed, who was born and raised in Pakistan, was a Muslim who emigrated to the United States in the 1980s. He converted to Christianity at Calvary Chapel where he became a church administrator four years ago, Hibbs said.
Ahmed had been a manager at retail stores in the area, Hibbs said. He is married and has children, Hibbs said.
"On the surface, he was very diligent and very conscientious, and he was the kind of man that would quickly gain your trust," Hibbs said. "He was hardworking and always on the ball."
Church member Mike Goody of Chino said Calvary Chapel members are praying for justice.
"As a Christian, we pray we forgive him for what he did ... but ultimately we seek justice," Goody said.
The San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office has not filed charges against Ahmed. He is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 25, according to online court records.
The Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, which is in Chino, has 7,000 adult members.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


A Madison County church's leader is behind bars, accused of stealing from the congregation. Perry Mullins, 48, faces theft of property over $60,000 charges after Madison County deputies said he used the Liberty Grove Baptist Church's credit cards.
According to Madison County sheriff David Woolfork, Mullins served as the church business manager for the past two years. "It appears Mr. Mullins was in a position of trust. I believe he was a youth minister and just performed various duties throughout the church," said Woolfork.
Investigators said when questioned, Mullins admitted to charging more than $60,000 on the credit cards. According to those card records, $135,000 of unauthorized purchases were on the account.
Sheriff Woolfork believes Mullins used the credit card for personal use. "He was paying bills and that sort of thing," said Woolfork.
Mullins does not have a criminal history of embezzlement or theft. "He seemed to be very remorseful for his actions," said Woolfork.
Attempts to contact the church's minister Shannon Moses were unsuccessful. Mullins will appear in Madison County general sessions court on January 5, 2010.

Monday, January 4, 2010


A former Parent Teacher Organization president at East Central Upper Elementary in Hurley, who was accused in October of embezzling from the PTO’s account, has been arrested again on new charges of shoplifting and drug violations.
Pascagoula police Capt. Shannon Broom told The Mississippi Press Michelle Thomas Richardson tried to push a cart full of unbagged merchandise and groceries out of a front door of the Pascagoula Super Walmart Saturday.
On Monday, a judge revoked Richardson’s $5,000 bail for the earlier felony embezzlement charge.
She was arrested Oct. 29 on allegations of stealing about $3,000 from the PTO and removed from the PTO board.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Richardson has an attorney.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


A New York University staffer was arraigned in Manhattan District court on December 28, 2009, facing multiple charges stemming from what authorities say was an attempt to swindle the school out of more than $400,000 by submitting discarded liquor store receipts.
John Runowicz, 47, of New York, is accused of scavenging around a local liquor store for discarded receipts and attaching them to NYU reimbursement request forms, claiming they were used for departmental purchases and "other functions."
He worked as an administrator for the NYU chemistry department and submitted requests for petty cash based on the receipts from September 2003 until January 2009, according to District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau.
Overall, prosecutors allege Runowicz's scheme involved more than 13,000 receipts over five years and ultimately conned New York University out of $409,000.
"None of those receipts reflected legitimate business expenses," said the District Attorney's Office.
Runowicz was responsible for "managing lab resources" at New York University, which involved supervision over the chemistry department's budgetary matters, expense reimbursements, and supply requests, the district attorney said. After an internal audit this past summer shed light on Runowicz's questionable activities, the university promptly fired him and turned the case over to Morgenthau's office.
NYU spokesman John Beckman said in a statement that "the university is deeply disappointed that one of its employees would abuse the trust of our students, faculty, administrators and staff in this way."

Saturday, January 2, 2010


A former University of California, Davis, employee whom officials have accused of inflating crime statistics may have funneled university money into a private account and paid her mortgage with it, campus police said in a court document released December 29, 2009.
As part of their embezzlement probe of Jennifer Beeman, investigators also raised the question of whether she had appropriately paid $540,000 to a Bay Area woman and her companies over a seven-year period.
Reached at home Thursday, Beeman declined to comment.
Police detailed their suspicions regarding Beeman, the former director of the UC Davis Campus Violence Prevention Program, in court papers filed as they sought a search warrant in early December.
Yolo Superior Court made the statement available this week.
In it, UC Davis Police Sgt. Paul Henoch wrote that Beeman, 52, first came under scrutiny in September 2008 for overstating her travel expenses.
Further investigation showed that she had asked for reimbursement for airfare to San Diego when her ticket had already been paid for by an outside group. She had also submitted travel mileage for meetings she did not attend, Henoch wrote
University officials requested an internal audit and placed Beeman on administrative leave
In February 2009, the audit concluded that Beeman had improperly submitted travel expenses of more than $1,000.
In October, campus officials said she had repaid $1,372 and retired in June.
On the same day, they also revealed Beeman had grossly inflated the number of forcible sexual offenses in three years of mandatory reports to the federal government. No reason was given.
Administrators also said in October that police were pursuing a second investigation into Beeman's finances.
Details of that investigation were spelled out in a Dec. 1 statement by Henoch. He wrote that investigators had learned in early 2009 that Beeman had a "secret" checking account for a campus program called Take Back the Night.
Beeman told a co-worker that she had paid her home mortgage from the account, he wrote.
The account was located in July at the USE Credit Union, with Beeman listed as the only signatory, the police sergeant said in his statement.
Auditors found that nearly $12,000 in university funds had been deposited into the account, and Beeman had withdrawn $5,400 for personal use between January 2002 to March 2009, Henoch wrote.
The auditors also found that Beeman had authorized $25,000 in payments of federal grant funds to a company run by a woman named Granate Sosnoff to produce a campus anti-violence guide that was never completed, he wrote.
In November, Henoch said he discovered that the Campus Violence Prevention Program had paid Sosnoff and various media and marketing firms that she controlled more than $540,000 between May 2000 and April 2007.
"At this time it is unknown what type of relationship Beeman and Sosnoff have over the years," he wrote, "if it is strictly business or if monies have exchanged hands between them.
Sosnoff, who lives in Oakland, did not respond to a phone message Thursday.
The 47-year-old woman developed a series of acclaimed rape awareness posters for the university that were paid for with federal grant dollars.
The striking posters for the campaign, called "Voices Not Victims," were featured in Ms. magazine and sought by other universities and the Ford Foundation's office in Africa, according to a university press release from 2001.
The search warrant approved in December by Yolo Superior Court Judge Thomas Warriner sought bank records for both Beeman and Sosnoff.
UC Davis Police Chief Annette Spicuzza said Thursday that, to her knowledge, the banks have not yet returned the requested records.
No decisions about whether to charge Beeman or Sosnoff will be made until they do, she said.
"This is an open investigation," Spicuzza said. "We're going to look at everything."

Friday, January 1, 2010


A former Otsego Public Schools administrator faces a hearing on felony charges that he embezzled from the school district.
Thomas Matthews, 45, was charged December 7, 2009 with three counts of embezzlement of between $1,000 and $20,000. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison and fines of the greater of $10,000 or three times the amount embezzled.
Matthews, who is free on $500 bond, declined to comment on the charges.
“This is a very unfortunate situation for all parties,“ Otsego Public Schools Superintendent Dennis Patzer said.
Matthews was hired in 2000 as the school district’s transportation director and in 2004 was also put in charge of building and grounds maintenance and given the title of operations director. He was among four employees whose jobs were eliminated June 30 to help the district offset a budget deficit for the 2009-10 school year.
Patzer said Matthews’ job loss and the alleged theft of school funds are unrelated. The embezzlement allegedly occurred in 2004, but wasn’t discovered until late September of this year, according to the superintendent.
Patzer declined to say how much money is involved or reveal other details about the case, which was investigated by the Otsego Police Department. Attempts to reach Allegan County Prosecutor Frederick Anderson and Matthews’ attorney, James Mikel McEwen, were unsuccessful.
A preliminary examination on evidence against Matthews is scheduled  in Allegan County District Court. A judge will decide whether evidence presented is sufficient to send the case to circuit court for trial.