Sunday, February 28, 2010

Former School Manager in South Dakota Faces Embezzlement Sentence

A former school business manager faces up to 10 years in prison for embezzlement.

The U.S. Attorney's office said 34-year-old Jamie Lee Beisch pleaded guilty to embezzling $277,368 from the McLaughlin School District by writing unauthorized payroll checks to himself over a two-year period.
He will be sentenced in May.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Charter School Employee in New Orleans Pleads Guilty to Theft of Over $600,000 from School

KELLY A. THOMPSON, age 39, a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, pled guilty in federal court today before United States District Judge Carl J. Barbier to theft of federal funds, announced United States Attorney Jim Letten.

According to the documents filed today in court, THOMPSON was employed at Langston Hughes Academy Charter School as the Business and Human Resources Manager/Financial Manager beginning approximately July 1, 2008 until approximately November 6, 2009. THOMPSON admitted that in her position at Langston Hughes Academy Charter School, she would make cash withdrawals while acting in her capacity as Business and Human Resources Manager/Financial Manager and then manipulated the school’s record in order to conceal the thefts. The amount of loss to Langston Hughes Academy Charter School is approximately $660,000.
THOMPSON faces a maximum term of imprisonment of ten (10) years, a fine of $250,000, and up to three (3) years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment. Sentencing is set for May 20, 2010.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney James R. Mann.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Man in Chino, California denies embezzlement charge

The attorney for an Ontario man accused of embezzling close to $1 million from a local church has denied the charges.

Farrukh Ahmed of Ontario is accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from coffers at Calvary Chapel Chino Hills. He was hired as a church administrator four years ago.
"This case is upsetting because there is no way in the world that my client embezzled $900,000," according to a statement from David Diamond, Ahmed's Los Angeles-based attorney. "Pastor Hibbs had unfettered access to the church monies and was never responsible to show or explain how or why the money was being spent."
Diamond said his investigation will include an accounting of the church's finances.
Ahmed appeared on Thursday for an arraignment hearing at the San Bernardino County Superior Courthouse in Chino. The hearing was continued to April 7.
Police on Dec. 23 arrested Ahmed, 47, at his home in the 500 block of Doral Avenue in Ontario on suspicion of felony burglary and embezzlement charges.
The FBI, which is investigating, reported from $720,000 to $960,000 in funds were stolen from the church, said Jack Hibbs, pastor of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills.
"They were shocked and disheartened and they were very tearful," Hibbs said. "They felt very violated."
Ahmed joined Calvary Chapel about 12 years ago.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pennsylvania Embezzlement suspect charged in 2nd case

A Davidsville man accused of embezzling money from a Somerset County charity now is charged with misappropriating $64,484 from a Johnstown charity of which he was treasurer, authorities said.

Thomas A. Croyle, 45, of the 2700 block of Carpenters Park Road, is accused of stealing money from Bridge of Hope of the Laurel Highlands from May 2005 until June 2008, leaving the charity with only $7 in its bank account, Johnstown police said in a affidavit of probable cause.
Croyle became treasurer of Bridge of Hope in January 2005, police said.
The charges come as Croyle is being prosecuted in Somerset County for similar thefts.
He was charged Monday with stealing $18,615 from St. Francis Sharing and Caring Inc. in Conemaugh Township by depositing money into a fictitious account.
Police said Croyle used the following methods to steal money from Bridge of Hope:
• Wrote checks to himself and forged the signature of the charity president.
• Endorsed checks made payable to cash.
• Wrote checks payable to a fictitious company, TAC Services.
• Withdrew money using a Bridge of Hope ATM card.
At the time, Bridge of Hope rented space in a church being managed by the YWCA, 531 Somerset St. The organization has since moved.
Bridge of Hope owed about $1,000 in back rent, YWCA board President Diane Lopez said.
Croyle was charged with theft by deception, forgery, tampering with records, failure to make required deposits and other counts.
He paid back about half the money before he was caught, police said.
An audit by Wessel & Co. showed Croyle deposited $30,029 into the Bridge of Hope account, resulting in a net loss of $34,455, police said.
Croyle visited the Public Safety Building in Johnstown in June 2008 and signed a written confession.
He came forward after Bridge of Hope directors started asking questions about the lack of funds in the charity’s account.
According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by police, Croyle said he believed at one point that only $7 remained in the account.
Croyle, who is pastor at Stahl Mennonite Church in Conemaugh Township, Somerset County, said he took the money because he was having financial trouble.
Charges were filed before District Judge Leonard Grecek of Johnstown.
Croyle immediately waived his right to a preliminary hearing.
He is free on $25,000 unsecured bond.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Former Church Worker in Springfield, Ohio Sentenced In Theft

Authorities said a worker from a Springfield church has admitted to stealing more than $300,000, and she was sentenced on Tuesday.

Anita Diane Maddy appeared in court and was very apologetic and remorseful for what she did.
The judge sentenced Maddy to 17 months in prison.
News Center 7 talked with the past of Christ Chapel Church of God when the theft was made known.
Pastor Bernard Cook said, “We’re all heart broken. We loved her.”
Cook said over the course of six years, Maddy stole credit cards, loan accounts and church ATM cards from the church.
The Clark County Prosecutor said he is pleaded with the outcome.
Cook said when he was made known of the theft, the church immediately put safe guards in place to make sure this type of theft does not happen again.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Former Moorseville, North Carolina church treasurer charged with embezzlement

The former treasurer of Fifth Creek Presbyterian Church faces 11 charges of embezzlement after discrepancies were discovered in the finances of the church, Iredell County Sheriff Phil Redmond said Monday.

Debra Driskill Bunton, 52, of Statesville also faces one count of financial transaction card fraud.
Redmond said two representatives from the church contacted the sheriff's office earlier this month after discrepancies were found in the church's finances. One of the two was the recently named treasurer, who took over for Bunton. She had been treasurer for four years, Redmond said.
Church representatives reported they discovered questionable debit card transactions involving the church's checking account, Redmond said. That card was issued to Bunton in her role as treasurer.
The church's bank statements were checked and compared to the computer ledger for the church, and it appears ledger entries made it appear the purchases were for legitimate reasons but the bank statements were different Redmond said.
Bunton told the church staff that the card was lost or stolen from her sometime the first week of January, Redmond said.
Detective Sgt. Allen Sipes of the white collar/economic crime unit began an investigation, and found that during the time between when Bunton said the card was lost or stolen and Jan. 6, when the new treasurer took over, there were numerous transactions totaling more than $2,000, Sipes said.
Food Lion and Wal-Mart were two of the most frequent locations where the card was used, he said.
Video surveillance from the two stores was obtained and the suspect matched Bunton's description, Sipes said.
Sipes said he interviewed Bunton, who at first denied using the card, but changed her story when she was told of the surveillance footage. She admitted she altered the church ledger, Sipes said.
As a result of this investigation, Bunton was charged.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Woman charged with stealing from Port Huron, Michigan church

A 48-year-old woman who worked at St. Edward On-

the-Lake Catholic Church for 15 years is charged
with stealing $100,000 or more from the parish.
Jacalyn Renee O’Boyle of Port Huron Township was
charged with embezzlement, $100,000 or more Feb.
9. Bond was set at $2,500. A preliminary
examination is scheduled for 9:30 Tuesday
morning. Joe Kohn, Archdiocese of Detroit spokesman, said
they believe the theft was done during the past few y
ears. Court records list the offense date as Jan. 1,
Kohn said missing funds were discovered in July
during a regular audit conducted by the
Archdiocese. He didn’t know when the last audit was
done before that.
Kohn said O’Boyle and the church parted ways
following the audit, he didn’t know if she was fired
or resigned.
“We take seriously any action that would take from
the trust of those who give to the church,” he said.
Trooper Bethany Craig, with the Michigan State
police Richmond post, said she started investigating
the case in December. She said O’Boyle turned
herself in Feb. 9.
Craig said they are not releasing information about
how the money was allegedly embezzled.
“It’s always upsetting when someone is accused of
seriously betraying the trust of a community, but as
Christians, we’re taught to forgive even as justice
takes its course,” said the Rev. Joseph Esper, past of
St. Edward. “We’re praying for everyone affected by
this situation.”
Esper said he couldn’t comment further due to the
ongoing court case.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A grand gift for Grand District, Utah

A late Christmas present has landed in the lap of the financially troubled Grand School District. An anonymous donor is giving the district $700,000, which will save the jobs of seven teachers and enable the district to forego implementing a four-day school week.

"We are elated just elated," Grand District spokeswoman Becky McCormick told the Deseret News Wednesday. Left with $2 million in debt due to accounting errors, Grand District in Moab has been planning, among other cuts, to lay off 50 employees  21 percent of the district's 210 staff members. Even with the gift, they will still have to lay off about 43 employees. "We have run into hard times," said Grand District Superintendent Margaret Hopkin. One result of the extra $700,000 is class sizes won't have to be increased as much as planned. The district had planned to put 36 kids in each K-3 classroom. Now, thanks to the gift, they can reduce that number to 24 kids per class. In grades 3-6, budget constraints had forced the district to consider putting 36 kids in each class. Now they can reduce that number to 30. The middle school guidance counselor position will be reinstated. Educators will maintain their current salaries through this school year, which were the same as last school year. But it's not all good news. The donation is one-time funds, meaning that the school district may still have to go to a four day week next year, and that additional positions may be cut. The district is already slicing its activities fund by $100,000. Hopkin is cutting $10,000 from her $91,000 salary, for which she is contracted to work 260 days per year. Board members are also discussing reducing their stipends. The district is selling off five land parcels, plus its district office. The 3,000-square foot structure was built in 1955, remodeled in the 1970s and could bring potentially $200,000. The board will instead meet in city or county buildings. Grand is discussing posing a voted leeway for an undecided amount in June. A $1.6 million measure failed in November, but district officials say the district now has more public support. Grand District discovered an almost $2 million deficit in September after the death of its business administrator Doug Cannon. Before Cannon died due to illness, property tax revenues were placed in the wrong fund, making it seem as if the district had more money than it did. Budgets were created based on this misconception. Money  which the district didn't have  was spent, mainly on salaries, according to district officials. An audit released by the State Office of Education in December stated there was no evidence of embezzlement. The report outlined recommendations for ensuring financial errors don't continue.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Former North Carolina PTO officer charged with embezzlement

A former Sadler Elementary School PTO treasurer has been charged with embezzlement and possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

Niki Deleste Ishman-May, 29, of Hallmark Drive, was arrested Wednesday. The Gastonia woman used $700 worth of gift cards that belonged to the school while she served as PTO treasurer in 2008, according to the arrest warrant affidavit. A warrant for her arrest in the matter was issued in March 2009.
Ishman-May was also charged for possession of a stolen motor vehicle along. Raymon Lamond May was charged with the same offense.
Ishman-May was released with a $16,000 secured bond.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fellowship Chapel Point Pleasant NJ Money Meeting

For many of you who have attended Fellowship Chapel Point Pleasant NJ you would have noticed that after every Sunday service the pastors and elders would have an elder meeting. They would get together for what appeared to be a meeting to discuss issues regarding the church.

They couldn’t wait to get together as they would quickly congregate to a secluded area led by Fellowship Chapel vice president Richard Bergstrom and Brick Township lawyer from the Ocean County Prosecutor‘s Office Edward Murachanian.
They resembled little kids being let out for recess. For church members it made them proud that their church leaders were so passionate about serving God.
What the church members did not realize was what they believed to be a passion for serving God was actually a passion for serving their own greed, the con artist‘s love for money. At this pretend elder meeting Richard Bergstrom would divy up the cash that was collected from the Sunday offering and distribute it to Pastor Cliff Whitehead, Associated pastor Jim McCombs, President John Emmanuel, Secretary Bill Doolittle and Treasurer John Boyle.
The one thing in common with these men are that they are all long time friends of the secret owner of Fellowship Chapel of Jersey Shore lawyer Brick Township Edward Murachanian.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Reverend Raleigh Trammell – Southern Christian Leadership Conference Dayton head – home raided by FBI on Embezzlement concerns!

Early this month, national officials of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference requested criminal investigations by authorities in Georgia and Alabama, alleging embezzlement from the civil rights organization by Dayton’s Rev. Raleigh Trammell, the national board chairman, and SCLC Treasurer Spiver Gordon.

Today, Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation seized a computer and several boxes from the home of Reverend Raleigh Trammell, according to Dayton police.
Agents searched the Dayton offices of the SCLC looking for any information or evidence that could like Trammell to the alleged misuse of the group’s funds. They also raided the home of Trammell’s daughter Angela Goodwine, taking boxes and a computer from her house as well.
Trammell declined comment after the agents left his home. However, neighbor John Wilkins said: “After all of the accusations, I’m not surprised (by the searches). I feel sorry for the family that they have to go through this. Mrs. Trammell is a very nice person and I feel sorry that she has to go through this — she and her husband both.”
According to reports, the group’s treasurer, Spiver Gordon of Alabama, is also under investigation for involvement in the case.
U.S. Justice Department spokesman Fred Alverson said the searches are in relation to an investigation in to SCLC financial activities. No criminal charges have been filed.
“I don’t have any reaction to that nonsense,” said Trammell, chairman of the board of SCLC’s Dayton chapter. “I have nothing to do with the finances of the organization.”
He said the SCLC finance committee is investigating the allegations.
“I’m sure when they make their report it will clearly exonerate me. Until then I’m just prepared to say it’s a bunch of hogwash,” said Trammell, who also is executive director of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance in Dayton.
Trammell and Gordon are accused of unauthorized expenditure of SCLC funds in excess of $560,000 since 2006, according to a Jan. 29 letter to Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard. The letter was written by Dexter M. Wimbish, who is on temporary paid leave as SCLC general counsel.
“The embezzlement includes the use of a board account with Citizens Trust Bank (in Georgia) whereby personal expenses have been paid as well as loans to Raleigh Trammell,” Wimbish wrote in the letter.
“As these persons have been reinstated, there is a fear they will continue to mismanage funds and destroy or alter records to cover up their theft and conversion.”
According to an internal review of the SCLC national board account obtained by the Dayton Daily News in a report issued earlier this month, SCLC officials questioned payments of more than $27,000 to Trammell and the Dayton SCLC chapter he leads between 2006 and 2009, including two wire transfers to a Trammell-controlled National City Bank account.
"I’ve never been paid any $27,000,” Trammell said.
In a Jan. 19 interview he denied the allegations and said “I have absolutely no knowledge” of transfers of SCLC funds to his control and “I don’t believe any such bank accounts exist.”
In a phone interview, Gordon said he only signed checks from the national SCLC account after the expenditures were approved with vouchers signed by other officials, including Trammell.
“Some of the allegations that are being made are just ridiculous,” Gordon said.
In presenting the documents in Alabama, Rocker said he was joined by Wimbish and Ron Woods, who is on temporary leave as SCLC executive director.
The two were placed on leave by the Fulton County judge who on Jan. 20 granted a temporary restraining order restoring Trammell and Gordon to their jobs until the SCLC board could meet. Trammell and Gordon had agreed last year to step aside while the SCLC investigated complaints of financial impropriety against them.
Three SCLC board members, including Rev. Wilburt Shanklin of Dayton, sought the restraining order after the investigation was publicly announced in December. Shanklin is president of the IMA and a member of Dayton Mayor Gary Leitzell’s Leadership Council.
The Dayton SCLC and IMA in 2009 received at least $304,952 in taxpayer funding for local programs, including money from the Montgomery County’s human services levy; county job and family services money funneled through the Dayton Urban League and federal funding for food and emergency shelter, a program administered by the United Way of Greater Dayton.
Every choice has a consequence. Keep in mind people are innocent until proven guilty. However, where there is smoke there is fire…so if guilt is established there will likely follow a prison sentence.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Canisius College embezzler spared jail

A former Canisius College bookkeeper who admitted embezzling more than $60,000 will stay out of jail but must pay $200 a month for the next 10 years to partially reimburse the school, a judge decided Wednesday.

Mary Pat Leahy, 54, told State Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang she deeply regrets her “bad behavior” and said she is “sincerely ashamed” for what she had done.
In handing down the sentence, Wolfgang admonished her for her crime.
“You betrayed the trust of your employer and damaged the reputation of this fine institution,” Wolfgang said.
Leahy pleaded guilty Dec. 8 to grand larceny carrying a possible 15-year prison term. She declined to comment as she left court Wednesday morning.
Michael Sullivan, Leahy’s lawyer, told the judge her thefts, totaling $62,972, resulted from “marital difficulties” and tax problems caused by her ex-husband, who is now deceased.
The embezzlement occurred from May 2004 until shortly before Leahy was fired last August when a school audit uncovered the theft. She had worked at the college for 14 years.
Based on an assessment of Leahy’s “realistic ability to pay” back the school, the $24,000 she will have to come up with over the next 10 years is an acceptable amount, prosecutor John C. Doscher told the judge. She already has repaid $6,841.90.
Doscher told the judge the school has an insurance claim pending for the remaining money Leahy stole.
Wolfgang ordered Leahy to remain fully employed so she can continue to make restitution payments on her criminal debt. She also ordered her to write “a detailed letter of apology” to the college administration and to submit to substance abuse testing and treatment if ordered by court officials.
Doscher said after the sentencing that she was forced to plead guilty to the highest charge a grand jury could have lodged against her.
Both Doscher and Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III credited Gary Everett, Canisius College director of public safety, and Patrick Richey, the college’s chief financial officer, who were both in court for the sentencing, with playing major roles in the case.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Outrage Over Release Of Thieving Long Island, New York School Administrator

There is outrage Friday in one Long Island community, where millions of taxpayer dollars were embezzled by its former superintendant of schools. But this anger is not about the crime that was committed – instead, it's focused on the controversial early prison release of Frank Tassone.
"He destroyed the life of people here," one resident said. "How can they let him go so fast?"
The streets of Roslyn are filled with anger as disgusted taxpayers learn their former superintendent – the man who helped orchestrate the $11 million dollar embezzlement of their school district – is about to be sprung early from state prison.
"I don't understand why the lawmakers today allow him to get out," said another Roslyn resident.
Thanks to good behavior and the completion of rehabilitation programs, the state Department of Correction will allow 63-year-old Frank Tassone to be released Tuesday. Tasson was sentenced to four to 12 years, but a his release next week would be eight months and four days earlier than his minimum sentence.
"Rehab doesn't mean anything, and you should still pay for what you did," an angry taxpayer said.
"Good behavior or not, you don't steal from a school district," said a Roslyn man.
The Nassau District Attorney, who fought the early release, says Tassone personally stole more than $2 million. He committed the thefts using district-issued credit cards for Botox treatments, cash advancements, flights to Europe on the Concorde, and expensive jewelry.
"I only hope and pray that someday the Roslyn community will remember the good I did for the district, as well as find it in their hearts to forgive me for my mistakes," Tassone said.
"It's an outrage, what he's done, and we're still paying for it in this town," one Roslyn mother said.
"He's done a disservice to students, parents, teachers all over Long Island," another Roslyn resident said.
Six people, four of whom worked for the district, pleaded guilty to the Roslyn theft.
Tassone has since repaid his $2 million, and will be placed on parole until 2018. He'll be subject to substance abuse testing and a curfew, and he is not allowed to drink, go to a bar, gamble, use a credit card, or open a checking account.
But to many in Roslyn who still feel burned by the former school administrator, that's simply not enough.
"He shouldn't be out – he should stay in there," ____ said. "He stole from us, and it's wrong."
Tassone will continue to receive his annual state pension of nearly $175,000 a year in monthly installments, as he did while in prison.
The case prompted numerous criminal investigations and state audits of all other school districts in New York, as well as new laws requiring that school board members get financial training before they serve.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Police investigate theft case at San Diego State

The San Diego State Police Department is officially investigating an embezzlement case from within Associated Students Business Services.

The incident was first reported in the Jan. 20 campus police media bulletin. According to the bulletin, an employee who received refunds reportedly deposited the money into a separate account he created for himself instead of entering them into customer credit card accounts.
Police Capt. Lamine Secka said no one has been charged.
Because of the ongoing investigation, Secka said he could not disclose how long the employee had supposedly been embezzling money, how the office discovered the situation or what the employee was supposed to be refunding.
Secka added that police do not yet know how much money may have been embezzled.
While the police report was taken to the A.S. Business Services office, a source who wishes to remain anonymous confirmed that the incident occurred in the Aztec Recreation Center.
A.S. Associate Executive Director Christina Brown said only one employee is being investigated.
“At this point I just want to say they are no longer with us,” she said.
Brown said A.S. discovered the situation, but she could not explain how or disclosed the amount supposedly embezzled.
“To tell you the truth, we don’t know for sure,” Brown said. “We’re investigating that. We have an idea, but we’re still looking into it.”
A.S. is pursuing a legal case, so Brown said she did not want to say anything that would jeopardize the investigation.
“This isn’t me trying not to be transparent; this is literally just the legal system at this point,” Brown said. “This person has rights and they’re only a suspect at this time because nothing has been proved legally.”
In fact, Brown feels the media bulletin disclosed too much information.
“I can’t tell you any more than what it said in that log,” she said. “To tell you the truth, too much was said in that log. We are pursuing this legally and so we’re already a little bit frustrated at how much was put in that log because of the person’s rights.”
While the bulletin gives the impression that customers were affected, A.S. believes that wasn’t the case, Brown said.
“(The bulletin) is not really accurate,” she said. “It circles around what happened, but that’s not exactly what happened. I see where it makes it look like customer credit cards could have been affected and I think it’s very important to say we believe they were not.”
Brown said A.S. is the victim and that customers should not be concerned.
“At this time we do not believe that any of our customers or credit card information has been compromised in any way and we take that very seriously and have all of the policies and procedures in place to protect that,” she said. “If there does prove to be any type of a loss, it would be a company loss that we believe would be covered under insurance.”
In cases such as these, Secka suggests customers contact their financial institution or the organization customers have their account with if they suspect any wrongdoing.
“If (customers) have reason to believe that something occurred, then yes, they can contact their police department,” he said.
Secka said customers should also take precautions to ensure their bank accounts are safe.
“What we recommend people do periodically regardless is to keep an eye on your account,” he said. “Make sure that the transactions you’re expecting are actually taking place. We make that recommendation when you’re talking about identity theft and all kinds of things.”
Secka said embezzlement cases do not frequently occur on campus. He could not guess what the potential penalty could be, but that it could extend anywhere from “just being reprehended and / or fired to serving jail time and having to repay the money.”
The total value of the allegedly embezzled money would greatly affect what kind of punishment the suspect would receive if the investigation proves the employee guilty.
According to California Penal Code 487, if the value of the allegedly embezzled property exceeds $400, prosecutors can file grand theft charges.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Big Bay De Noc, Michigan School trying to regroup after embezzlement

January 12, 2010, Big Bay de Noc School office staff discovered unauthorized checks written to the school's Business Manager. January 14, 2010, the Business Manager was relieved of her duties.
"This betrayal by a long-time employee has stung the entire school family," says School Superintendent John Peterson.
That same day, Peterson notified Michigan State Police of a possible embezzlement. State Police requested the assistance of the US Secret Service to investigate the crime.
"It was clear to us that monies were embezzled from the school district in the amount of over $800 thousand," says 1st Lieutenant John Halpin, Michigan State Police.
The investigation confirmed that the business manager, a sub-contracted employee who worked for the school for 18 years, acted alone. Her name is not yet being released, but since being relieved of her duties on January 14, she has died.
"Prior to the suspect's death, we were going to seek Federal prosecution. At this time, all avenues in the investigation are still being looked at; the investigation is still on-going to help determine if - and when - any of the money could be recovered. And at this point, that is unclear," says Halpin.
In the wake of the event, Superintendent Peterson is looking forward to a positive future for the Big Bay de Noc School District following "the discovery, investigation and resolution of the criminal actions."
At Monday's school board meeting, Peterson read his official statement and welcomed public comment, but in terms of new information, nothing is being released just yet.
Michigan State Police say that it's been an unfortunate sequence of events, but their investigation will certainly continue.
An Upper Peninsula school district is working to regroup after it was discovered that the former business manager had embezzled money.
According to information from the Michigan State Police and the Big Bay de Noc School District, the deception began with the discovery of unauthorized checks made out to the business manager.
Police were contacted, and the suspect was relieved of her duties and privileges at the Big Bay de Noc Schools.
Investigation into the matter shows that about $800,000 was taken from the district over the past five to eight years.
Authorities note that it will be difficult to determine the exact amount taken, due to the untimely death of the suspect.
At this time, they are working to reconcile their accounts so they can move forward.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Marion, South Carolina superintendent resigns after embezzlement allegations

-Marion School District 2 Superintendent Dr. Nathaniel Miller resigned Tuesday after a grand jury investigation showed money missing from the district.

He was arrested after the brief investigation revealed more than half a million dollars had been stolen from its coffers.
The district's board chair, Elizabeth Hammond, said Miller's resignation is effective immediately. She received Miller's resignation Tuesday morning.
Nancy Grice, Director of Instruction, will continue to serve as the acting superintendent until further notice.
Miller, 59, of 206 Azalea Drive, Mullins, is charged with embezzlement of public funds, according to a State Law Enforcement Division press release. If convicted of the felony, he faces up to 20 years in prison and fines at the discretion of the court.
According to the arrest warrant, Miller converted $503,199.50 of the district's money for his personal use between March 2006 "to on or about January 2010." That usage includes paying mortgages, college tuition and rent for his children. As superintendent, he was charged with the safekeeping, transfer and disbursement of Marion 2 funds, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.
Miller turned himself in to SLED agents Friday afternoon at the Richland County Courthouse in Columbia. His arrest warrant lists a second address for him at 11 Skyland Court, Columbia.
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Miller "provided a voluntary statement to law enforcement on January 13, 2010, which indicated he converted the funds for personal use. The state has independent evidence to corroborate the statement provided by Nathaniel Miller."
Third Circuit Court Judge Thomas Cooper set a $75,000 bond for Miller and ordered him to surrender his passport. Miller is being represented by Columbia attorney Neal Laurie, who represented South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia when he faced misdemeanor charges.
The Mullins-based Marion 2 Board of Trustees placed Miller on administrative leave with full pay and benefits pending the investigation. The board took the action following an emergency closed door meeting Wednesday night, according to a press release from Marion 2 public information officer Gail P. Fowler.
Miller began his tenure as the district's superintendent Jan. 9, 2006.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Omaha Day care theft ends with jail

Amy E. Colling has lost her job as a kindergarten teacher, she has had to explain her embezzlement to her three children and on Friday, she became an inmate at the Douglas County Jail.

She must serve four months of a six month jail sentence for theft by unlawful taking of more than $1,500. The other two months could be waived if Colling successfully completes five years of probation and meets her restitution obligation.
Still, Douglas County District Judge Thomas Otepka expressed doubt that Colling, 43, has fully owned up to her theft from the Kids for Jesus preschool and day care.
If Colling, the former executive director of Kids for Jesus, hasn't been up front with family and friends about the extent of her crime, Otepka said his sentencing should provide a clearer picture. He recounted the discrepancy between what Colling claims to have stolen — no more than $25,000 — and what 10 people combing financial records for two weeks concluded — $91,000, at a minimum.
The crime was carried out during a three-year period, beginning in 2003. Otepka didn't discuss Colling's motivation, but he did outline a few of the items bought with the stolen money, including furniture, shrimp, an Xbox video game system, a computer.
If people understand the magnitude of the crime and still offer their support, "that's great," Otepka said. "But how your family didn't have a clue, I don't know."
Colling is the wife of Omaha police Officer Chris Colling. Two of the couple's children are in college, a third is a senior in high school.
Colling apologized to her family, friends and the church in court, saying she regretted her "lack of judgment" and the stress and embarrassment she has caused.
"I did not mean to hurt anyone. I tried to right my wrong from the beginning."
Otepka said he regretted that the church wouldn't be fully reimbursed for its loss. Colling has taken out a second mortgage on the family's home — valued at $185,000 — to pay $12,000 in restitution. For the next five years, she also must pay the church $350 every month, or an additional $21,000.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

School Employee Charged with Theft of Funds from Langston Hughes Academy Charter School in New Orleans

KELLY A. THOMPSON, age 39, a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, was charged in a Bill of Information for Theft of Federal Funds from Langston Hughes Academy Charter School announced United States Attorney Jim Letten.

According to the Bill, THOMPSON was employed at Langston Hughes Academy Charter School as the Business and Human Resources Manager/Financial Manager beginning approximately July 1, 2008 until approximately November 6, 2009. It is alleged the defendant made cash withdrawals while acting in her capacity as Business and Human Resources Manager/Financial Manager, and then manipulated the school’s record in order to conceal the thefts. The alleged amount of loss to Langston Hughes Academy Charter School is approximately $660,000.
United States Attorney Letten reiterated that the bill of information is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
In convicted, THOMPSON faces a maximum term of imprisonment of ten (10) years, a fine of $250,000, and up to three (3) years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Brian M. Klebba, Salvador Perricone and James R. Mann.

Friday, February 5, 2010

LAPD is conducting a criminal investigation of Second Baptist Church

Another one of our big, historic, prestigious, and influential Black churches is in trouble with the law. Second Baptist Church. It pains me to have to report this, but what has happened and is happening at the 125-year-old Second Baptist Church — the first African-American Baptist Church in Southern California — is news, albeit, bad news, and I am compelled to tell it because “telling it” — warts and all — is my raison d’etre.

Here it is: The LAPD is conducting a criminal investigation of Second Baptist Church into the probable embezzlement of at least $750,000 from its credit union and the church is party to a lawsuit filed in federal court pursuant to the demise of its credit union and the disappearance of the credit union’s money.
Detective Don Watkins of the Newton Division’s Burglary Unit (which handles all property crimes) said the SBC Credit Union became defunct and inactive last year and “my job is to find out what happened to the money,” he said. “This is a criminal investigation and I am following the money, as I must determine who took it. So far, it looks like about $750,000 is missing, but that figure could go higher.”
I asked the detective who he thinks took the money. “I’m not at a point yet in which I am ready to point fingers and name names, but I will get there,” Watkins said. The detective also said a lawsuit with respect to the missing money was filed in civil court, but at a hearing in October the lawsuit was sent out of civil court and re-filed in federal court, where a hearing has been scheduled for later this month.
My intelligence report notes the names of several people allegedly involved in this problem, but, like Watkins, I will decline to mention them until I see those, or other names, written in court documents. At that point, the venerable Second Baptist will come out of Soulvine and join St. Paul Baptist, Double Rock Baptist, First AME, Ward AME and Brookins AME on the front page.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Compton, California pastor to be sentenced in grand theft

The former pastor of a Compton church pleaded no contest Tuesday to one count of grand theft after he was accused of diverting more than $800,000 in offerings from his congregation, authorities said.

Eugene Joshua Sims, 48, who was pastor of Double Rock Baptist Church, will be sentenced to a year in county jail and five months of probation, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said.
Prosecutors are asking that Sims repay the more than $800,000 that he embezzled from church members while serving as their pastor, according to the district attorney's office.
Sims allegedly deposited the money in a private bank account and then threatened members not to say anything during sermons after questions were raised, the district attorney's office said.
Sims entered his plea in Compton Superior Court as his preliminary hearing was set to begin. In exchange for his plea, one felony count each of dissuading a witness and money laundering will be dropped when he is sentenced March 19, the district attorney's office said.
Sims was ordered to stay away from Double Rock church while he is on probation, but he can preach and perform services at other churches, according to the district attorney's office.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Bay St. Louis, Mississippi Embezzlement suspect arrested

A former Bay-Waveland School District employee accused of embezzling more than $22,000 from the district has been arrested.
Linda Gavagnie, 55, of Bay St. Louis was served with an indictment Monday by the state auditor's office.
The indictment alleges Gavagnie embezzled the money by making false entries into the school's financial records and transferring funds to hide the money she had taken.
Gavagnie was the finance manager for the Bay-Waveland School District from January 1994 to Sept. 21, 2007, State Auditor Stacey Pickering said in a news release.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

$10,000 stolen from Mulino, Oregon Parent Group bank account

About $10,000 was discovered missing from the Mulino Parent Group’s bank account this month and one of their members appears to be the thief. Officers of the parent group, a nonprofit organization supporting student activities at Mulino Elementary School, reported the missing funds to MES Principal Alan Willey on Jan. 9, he said.
The person stealing the funds left an obvious paper trail, Willey said, writing checks for large sums of money to herself.
Most of the funds were withdrawn in recent months, but it appears money began disappearing back in April of 2009, Willey said. On Monday, the woman arranged for the money to be returned and the parent group received a cashier’s check for the amount stolen, Willey said.
“When I met with her, she had said that she just put herself in a bad place,” Willey said. “She was very remorseful, very embarrassed and regrets it.”
Willey and officers of the parent group reported the theft to Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 10.
CSO spokesman Jim Strovink said investigators have not yet spoken with the suspect and charges have not been filed, but it is awaiting investigation. The suspect will not be publicly identified until charges have been filed.
“At first it was disbelief because I’ve known this person for over five years and have become personal friends,” MPG President Deborah Pruitt said. “It is a nonprofit, so unfortunately it is a legal responsibility to report it.”
Pruitt said that according to the group’s bylaws, the president and vice president are the only members who should have access to the MPG bank account. However, they recently held elections and the correct signers for the account had not yet been established.
“Really, there was only one person who had access to the account,” Pruitt said.
The parents raise money throughout the year by selling cookie dough, wrapping paper and other items and by holding an annual school carnival, Pruitt said. All the money they raise – about $15,000 a year – goes toward field trips, equipment, assemblies, student incentives, swimming lessons and other things to benefit students at Mulino Elementary School.
“The money that’s fundraised goes toward all the extra things that the general fund can’t pay for,” Willey said. “I think we have one of the better parent groups. They put in hundreds and hundreds of hours.”
Pruitt said other parents help with events, but only seven to 10 are active members of the group. Now, she worries that people will be hesitant to contribute to the group’s fundraising efforts out of concern that the money will be mishandled.
“In the long run, the only ones who are going to suffer from that is the children,” Pruitt said. “It’s a black eye and it’s going to take awhile to earn peoples’ trust back … We’re going to make sure that our procedures are updated so that this can’t happen again.”

Monday, February 1, 2010

Pastor, wife accused of embezzling from church in Lawrence, New Hampshire

The pastor of a Presbyterian church in the city, his wife, and the church's secretary are charged with embezzling almost $137,000 from the congregation's bank account over the course of five years.

The Rev. Isaias Rivera, pastor of Tabernaculo de Adoracion y Musica (Tabernacle of Praise and Music) and his wife, Vivian, were arrested by Lawrence police yesterday. Church secretary Kizzella Rivera turned herself in to police.
The Presbytery of Northern New England, which owns and runs the church at 96 E. Haverhill St., did not give permission nor had any knowledge that the three had been cashing checks from 2004 to 2009, according to police.
According to the police report, Isaias Rivera allegedly took $102,732.28, his wife cashed three checks in 2005 totaling $24,500, and secretary Kizzella Rivera, (no relation) wrote checks for herself and cashed them for the total sum of $9,500.
According to the police report, The Rev. Eric Markman, moderator for the Presbytery, contacted Sovereign Bank after talking to Isaias Rivera.
Bank officials told Markman "there were a lot of checks written to Isaias Rivera on the Presbytery's account from 2004 until 2009," according to the police report.
The Presbytery hired Hession and Pare, a public accounting firm in Manchester, N.H., to look at the account.
After researching the church's bank transactions, John Hession found "Isaias was either writing checks to himself or would have his secretary (Kizzella Rivera) write the checks out to him. He would then later cash the checks and take the money," the police report said.
Markman and Darnell Burks, chairman of the Lawrence Church Committee for the Presbytery, were recently alerted to a potential problem by Ricky Rivera, Kizzella Rivera's husband.
"He got fresh with my wife a couple of times and now he is trying to bring her into this," said Ricky Rivera, who ran youth programs at the church.
Markman and Burks confronted Isaias Rivera about the allegations, and during their visit found the membership had dwindled to 17 people and programs that were offered were no longer in operation, Markman said in an interview with The Eagle-Tribune yesterday.
"Before this, we thought the church was going well," he said.
During the investigation, Markman and Burks could not find the church's bank records, according to a report filed by police Detective Jeffrey R. Sapienza.
When Markman and Burks tried to look on the church's computer, "everything had been deleted," the report said.
When Markman asked Isaias Rivera about it, he told Markman that "the files must have been stolen," Sapienza wrote in his report.
On Feb. 4, 2008, Isaias Rivera reported that someone broke into the church at 96 E. Haverhill St. and stole one Dell computer, two speakers and one DVD player.
"The items were either returned or never stolen," Markman told The Eagle-Tribune.
"It would be unimaginable not to be disappointed," Markman said. "Anytime money is not going to the ministry that should be is stressful."
Markman said the money came from the presbytery as well as the collection during services.
"I feel betrayed because I thought I was putting money in the collection for God's purpose," Ricky Rivera said.
"It's too bad that we have individuals like him that we hold to high standards and they let you down," Ricky Rivera said of Isaias Rivera.
Ricky Rivera said the situation got so bad at the church that members had to bundle up during services because there was no heat.
Markman and Burks alerted Lawrence police who arrested Isaias and Vivian Rivera both of 86 Hazel St. and Kizzella Rivera of 102 Union St. All three were released on bail and will be arraigned in Lawrence District Court today.
Tabernaculo de Adoracion y Musica was founded in August 2003 at the site of the former United Presbyterian Church.
The case at Tabernaculo de Adoracion y Musica is one example of the rise in embezzlement cases.
Locally, Marie Morey, a courthouse accounting clerk, has been charged with embezzling more than $2 million from the Lawrence Probation Department over three and a half years.
Church employee Dawn Appel faces charges of taking $38,482 from North Parish Church in North Andover and Joseph Lydick, North Andover's purchasing agent, has been charged with embezzling $20,800 of the town's money.
Alfred Perry former chairman of the North Andover School Committee stole $22,361 from clients of his insurance agency. He was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to repay the victims.
Theresa Roccapriore was charged with stealing $136,000 from Lawrence General Hospital.
Michelle Cote of Londonderry, N.H., is scheduled to be sentenced for stealing $200,000 from Lambs Construction Corp. bank accounts.
Cheryl Crawford of Derry, N.H., was sentenced to one year in prison, ordered to repay the victims and complete 100 hours of community service after taking more than $350,000 from the Derry Economic Development Corp.
Cases remain open on Morey of Lawrence, Roccapriore of Groveland, Appel of North Andover, and Lydick of Derry, N.H.
Police Chief John Romero said embezzling can become addictive to some. "They start with one and once they get away with it, they continue doing it until it mushrooms," Romero said.
"It's easier to detect because it's no longer a pen and pencil document," Romero said. "There is also more emphasis on checks and balances."
Checks cashed by The Rev. Isaias Rivera
Jan. 26, 2004, $3,447
Aug. 15, 2004, $2,700
Nov. 8, 2005, $3,272.28
April 6, 2006, $5,500
Feb. 10, 2006, $2,000
July 2, 2007, $800
March 3, 2006, $4,000
Nov. 13, 2006, $1,500
Dec. 18, 2006, $4,500
March 30, 2006, $8,500
May 8, 2006, $8,000
Aug. 7, 2006, $800
Jan. 30, 2007, $8,500
Feb. 8, 2007, $8,500
Jan. 11, 2007, $8,500
Jan. 30 2007, $8,500
March 7, 2007, $8,500
April 2, 2007, $3,600
April 12, 2007, $4,500
Dec. 17, 2007, $ 1,833
Dec. 28, 2007, $900
May 22, 2009, $1,980
May 22, 2009, $2,400
Checks cashed by KiZzella Rivera
Jan. 17, 2006, $3,500
April 5, 2006, $1,200
May 5, 2006, $1,200
May 31, 2006,$1,200
June 25, 2006, $1,200
July 30, 2006, $1,200
Checks cashed by VIVIAN Rivera
Nov. 22, 2005, $6,000
Dec. 6, 2005, 9,500
Dec. 15, 2005, $9,000