Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Columbia University Is Hit With $4.5 Million Bank Fraud .

A Bronx man allegedly modified a Columbia University bank account to embezzle millions from the school, DNAInfo reports.
In a criminal complaint, George Castro is alleged to have been “familiar with the university's accounts payable system.”
The school claims he added an unauthorized account to the school's electronic payment system, into which he funnelled more than $4.5 million.
Not according to him. He has no idea how the funds found their way into his account.
Whatever happened, after Columbia realized a new account had been added to its system, they reported it to police, who then arrested Castro at his Bronx residence.
From the NY Post,  Castor allegedly modified a university account and added a TD Bank account to it as a payee, DA investigators said. The TD Bank account received over $3.4 million in funds from Columbia University accounts in October and $1 million in November. The money was then withdrawn in cash from the new account.
Castro says the funds simply appeared in his account.
Not helping his trustworthiness: Investigators found $200,000 in cash in a bag at the home, and also seized an Audi worth over $80,000, which was parked out front.
He is being held on $2 million bail.
A 48-year-old Bronx man has been arrested and charged with grand larceny for allegedly stealing nearly $4.5 million from Columbia University over the course of two months, authorities said Monday.

George Castro is accused of adding a TD Bank account belonging to him as a payee in the Columbia University Medical Center's accounts payable system, netting payments of $3.4 million in October and $1 million in November, authorities said. Mr. Castro, whose relationship with the university is unclear, was arrested Wednesday.

A law-enforcement official familiar with the case said Mr. Castro had $200,000 in cash in his possession when he was arrested and had withdrawn $140,000 the day before his arrest. According to a criminal complaint, Mr. Castro told investigators the money "just appeared" in his bank account and that he had gotten "greedy."

He allegedly admitted to buying an $80,000 Audi with the money, along with other undisclosed purchases, the complaint stated. The Audi, which was parked in front of his Admiral Lane residence in the Clason Point section of the Bronx, was seized by authorities.

Mr. Castro was arraigned on charges of grand larceny in the first degree and criminal possession of stolen property in the first degree and was being held at the Manhattan Detention Center on $2 million bail, authorities said.

David Fisher, an attorney representing Mr. Castro, said he expects his client to be "vindicated when all the facts come out." He declined to comment on Mr. Castro's alleged statements to authorities during his arrest and wouldn't say what Mr. Castro does for a living, except to say he is not an employee of Columbia University.

Douglas Levy, a spokesman for the university's medical center, said the institution is working "with law enforcement authorities and we cannot comment further."

According to the criminal complaint, the scheme was discovered early last week when an employee of the university familiar with the accounts-payable system noticed a massive irregularity. On Oct. 4, an existing payable account was modified to add a TD Bank account as the payee, the complaint said. The name on the TD Bank account was "IT Security Solutions LLC" and belonged to Mr. Castro, according to the complaint.

Officials with TD Bank told investigators that $4.4 million had been paid from Columbia University to that account in October and November and that some of the money had been transferred to accounts at other banks, including Capital One Bank, the complaint states.

The external fraud department at Capital One Bank told investigators those destination accounts were named to IT Security Solutions or Mr. Castro, the complaint states.

It was unclear Monday how the money was diverted from Columbia to Mr. Castro's accounts. The law-enforcement official said investigators were "still piecing together how [Mr. Castro] got the money wired to his accounts."

The law-enforcement official said Mr. Castro has two previous arrests for criminal possession of a weapon in 1991 and promoting prison contraband in 1992. New York State Department of Corrections records show he served almost two years in prison on a conspiracy charge.

Public records show that starting in August 2002 through October 2010, Mr. Castro was listed as the chairman and chief executive officer of Ryan Daelyn Technology Corp. A phone number listed for the company was not in service Monday

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ex Duke employee charged with embezzlement

A former Duke employee allegedly embezzled $267,000 from the University, according to an arrest warrant from the Durham County Magistrate’s Office.
John Cotton, age 49, is a former business manager in the Department of Surgery, said Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations. Cotton was removed from his position in August and has not been employed at Duke since then, he added.
In addition to the embezzlement charges, Cotton is accused of securing property under false pretenses. He allegedly abused his position to order products and services worth $58,706 for personal use.
“This kind of case is extremely rare, which is [why] we take it very seriously,” Schoenfeld wrote in an e-mail Sunday. “The University has a number of business and audit processes to protect against theft like this, but no system is absolutely foolproof.”
Cotton, who lives in Raleigh, was released from Durham County Jail Wednesday after posting a $25,000 secured bond.
The warrant notes that Cotton was “entrusted” to receive the funds he is charged with embezzling, but instead stole them for himself.
“He claimed the goods and services were for Duke business when it was not,” reads the warrant.
Doug Stokke, assistant vice president of communications for Duke University Health System, deferred comment to Schoenfeld.
DUPD Chief John Dailey could not be reached for comment.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tennessee Church secretary accused of embezzling $1.5 million

A Southern Baptist church in East Tennessee is considering cutting back on ministries amid reports that a trusted employee of 47 years embezzled more than $1.5 million in church funds.

Police arrested Barbara Whitt, 68, longtime financial secretary at First Baptist Church in Morristown, Tenn., May 10 after a church audit found nearly $500,000 in funds were missing. She is out of jail on $175,000 bond.
By May 26 local media were reporting that the amount of money stolen could be $1.5 million, making it the biggest theft in the history of Hamblen County.
"We're not going to stop the programs entirely," First Baptist Pastor Dean Haun told the Knoxville News-Sentinel. "But we might have to tap on the brakes."
Haun, who came as pastor of the 1,800-member congregation in 2008 from First Baptist Church in Jonesboro, Ga., said the greatest thing Whitt stole was their trust. Though not a church member -- she belongs to nearby Grace Baptist Church, also a Southern Baptist congregation -- Haun said members of First Baptist viewed her as family and would have helped her if she had a need.
Whitt, a widow, is accused of writing 1,647 checks to herself between January 2008 and mid-April of this year. Investigators say that each of the checks was larger than $900 and totaled an average of more than $50,000 each month.
Taken from an account that funds things like scholarships and ministries, the checks would allegedly start in the church's accounting program made out to "cash." Whitt would then get one of the church's authorized officials to sign the check, add "Barbara Whitt" on a typewriter and then cash it during her lunch hour at a Police said they don't know the motive for the alleged thefts. Neighbors said they had noticed her making a lot of large purchases recently and thought she might have won the lottery.
Whitt is scheduled to face a grand jury July 2. If convicted she could be sentenced from eight to 12 years in prison.
First Baptist Church reportedly filed a civil lawsuit against Whitt to try to stop her from selling any of her property. Grace Baptist Church also has filed a civil lawsuit against Whitt and her son, Michael, who owns a business called Whittco Electric Company housed at her home.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Swim Team Treasurer Admits Embezzling $175,000 From Organization in Ohio

Has the cost of chlorine shot up that much in the past few years that you wouldn’t notice nearly two hundred thousand dollars missing from your team bank account? Either Lynn Gottschalk was one of the biggest con artists to ever walk the streets of Ohio or, as we suspect, parents of the Sycamore Flying Fish club were so glad someone was watching their little ones that they just kept writing bigger and bigger checks without asking for a full accounting of how the funds were being spent.

Lynn Gottschalk admitted Wednesday that she stole as much as $175,000 when she was treasurer of a swim team. Gottschalk, 50, of Montgomery, became a convicted felon when she pleaded guilty to theft, a crime that carries a maximum prison sentence of 18 months. She stole the money from the Sycamore Flying Fish swim team when she was treasurer from September 2004 to August 2009. “The theft began almost immediately upon her taking the position of treasurer,” said Mark Seger, team president when the theft was discovered. Financial records, Seger said, show Gottschalk used team money to pay for items that included car payments, summer camp for a child, a vacation cruise and theater tickets. Those expenditures were some of the spending that left the team nearly bankrupt by the time Gottschalk’s five-year tenure as treasurer ended in August 2009.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Redding, California School District superintendent Kempley plans to resign

Redding School District Superintendent Diane Kempley, whose district has been shaken by turmoil, announced Friday that she plans to retire.

Kempley told her district office staff and the principals of the eight district schools that she plans to retire, said Denise Yergenson, president of the district board of trustees.
Kempley said Friday night that she plans to retire June 30, unless the board hires a new superintendent before then.
“It’s been an honor to serve the Redding School District,” Kempley said.
Yergenson said Kempley’s decision to retire had nothing to do with the controversy that erupted in the district after the arrest in August of Wanell Stolz, the wife of former board president Rein Stolz.
“It was her decision. She’s done an excellent job,” Yergenson said.
The Redding School District has hired a Sacramento law firm to investigate alleged conflicts of interest and hiring improprieties surrounding the Stolzes.
Wanell Stolz was arrested in August and charged with grand theft and embezzlement. She is accused of stealing about $13,500
from the Sycamore Elementary School Parent Faculty Club and stealing Sycamore school property.
Stolz has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
After her arrest, district employees said the Sycamore Elementary School librarian received preferential treatment because her husband was president of the school board.
“We’re in the middle of an investigation there, and I’m totally committed that we did the right thing,” Kempley said Friday night. “I think it’ll be settled long before I settle my chapter” when she leaves the district in June.
Kempley, who has worked for the Redding School District for the past 40 years, has been superintendent since July 2005.
After working 18 years as an elementary teacher in the district, Kempley was a principal at Bonny View Elementary School for 11½ years and principal at Sequoia Middle School from 2001 to 2005.
Kempley, too, said the Stolz controversy did not play a role in her decision to retire.
She noted her 40 years with the district and chief business officer RoseAnn Adams’ recent announcement that she is retiring at the end of June. Kempley said she wants to give a new superintendent the chance to hire a new chief business officer for the district.
Kathy Kuhn, the district’s human resources director, resigned last summer.
Kempley said that the board will hold a special meeting Dec. 3. The board then can begin the process of finding a new superintendent, she said.

Former Northwestern Michigan College employee allegedly embezzles money

A former Northwestern Michigan College employee is accused of pocketing more than $43,000 from college coffers through cash bar and event reservation deposits.

Grand Traverse County prosecutors this week charged Laura Margaret Wilson, 41, of Traverse City, with embezzlement of more than $20,000 by an agent or trustee. Judge John D. Foresman arraigned her Friday in 86th District Court on a felony charge that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or $15,000.
Wilson worked for two years as an office manager at Northwestern Michigan College's Hagerty Conference Center, where she collected money and made cash deposits. Officials fired her in September amid reports of missing money.
Wilson received a $2,000 check in April that would have reserved the Hagerty Center for a wedding. But Wilson asked that the check be made out in her name, as opposed to the Hagerty Center. The check writer eventually canceled the reservation but had difficulty receiving a refund because the check was made out to Wilson.
That sparked an investigation by college officials. Wilson admitted she deposited the check into her personal account, which led to her termination, police reports show.
"The college's financials are audited every year, and there was nothing that turned up in any of those audits," said NMC spokesman Paul Heaton. "We asked the auditors to take a more extensive look at things."
The auditor determined Wilson was responsible for more than $43,000 in missing funds from cash bars and event reservations that never were recorded on bank deposits.
"I am ashamed and embarrassed beyond comprehension," Wilson wrote in a statement to police. "Financially, I was spinning out of control, and I truly wish to pay back all of the monies I have taken. When I was taking the money, each time I told myself I needed to pay it back and replace the funds. Obviously, this did not happen, and the result was my termination of employment and now facing the court."
She told police she used the money for day-to-day expenses.
"I would like to repay the money and correct the situation," Wilson wrote. "I am still very ashamed for the person I became while working at the Hagerty Center."
Wilson didn't return a call for comment. She remains free on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond.

A former Northwestern Michigan College employee wept in court as she addressed her former colleagues.

"I'm sorry," she said. "I stand before you today, and I'm so very sorry."

Laura M. Wilson, 41, of Traverse City, apologized Friday to her one-time coworkers as she awaited punishment for pocketing more than $59,000 from NMC. Wilson plans to reimburse NMC for money she stole from cash bar and event reservation deposits.

"The decisions that I made were the worst in my life," said Wilson, who is undergoing counseling. "I'm committed to learning why, and I'm trying to correct that."

Her apologies didn't prevent 13th Circuit Court Judge Philip Rodgers from sentencing Wilson to nine months in jail and five years probation. She is allowed work release, court records show.

"This is a very significant amount of money, and it occurred over a long period of time," Rodgers said.

Last month, Wilson pleaded guilty to a felony count of embezzlement of more than $1,000 but less than $20,000 by an agent or trustee. Grand Traverse County prosecutors dismissed a count of embezzlement of more than $20,000 in exchange for her guilty plea.

Wilson worked for two years as an officer manager at NMC's Hagerty Conference Center, where she collected money and made cash deposits. Officials fired her in September amid reports of missing money.

She received a $2,000 check last year that would have reserved the Hagerty Center for a wedding. But Wilson asked that the check be made out in her name, as opposed to the Hagerty Center. The check writer eventually canceled the reservation, but had difficulty receiving a refund because the check was made out to Wilson.

That sparked an investigation by college officials, and Wilson later admitted she deposited the check into her personal account, which led to her termination. She told authorities the money was used for day-to-day expenses.

Former church administrator in California pleads no contest to embezzlement

A former administrator at Calvary Chapel Chino Hills has pleaded no contest to embezzling money from the church. Farrukh Ahmed, 48, entered his plea Thursday in Chino Superior Court as part of an agreement with prosecutors that carries a nine-month jail sentence.
Ahmed's plea bargain also calls for him to be placed on probation for three years and to pay $25,000 in restitution to the church. The Ontario resident is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 20.
Ahmed was arrested in December by San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies who accused him of embezzling about $750,000 from the church between 2006 and 2009.
Deputy District Attorney Will Wooten said that Ahmed is required to repay only $25,000 because prosecutors felt they would have been unable to prove the embezzlement was as extensive as church officials believed.
"What they believed he had taken and what we could prove were two different things," Wooten said.
Ahmed, who has been free on bail since his arrest, must surrender to authorities Jan. 7 to begin serving his jail term, according to his plea agreement.
His attorney, Jackie-Lynn Adams, did not return calls seeking comment Friday.

Athletic Director Sentenced For Stealing From School District

A former athletic director for Adams 12 Five Star School district was sentenced Thursday for taking $20,000 from ticket and concession sales during games.

Steven Patrick Atwood, 41, was sentenced to seven years of probation, including 90 days work release to be served at the Adams County jail.
Atwood had pleaded guilty to felony embezzlement of public property in August. As part of that plea agreement, he agreed to pay $20,000 in

Prosecutors said Atwood stole thousands of dollars during sporting events held from September 2008 through May 2009.
Atwood resigned from his position in June 2009 when confronted with the allegations, which were uncovered during an internal audit. He had worked for 18 years with the Adams 12 Five School District.
He started in August 1991 and held positions as the assistant football coach, a work education teacher and dean of students -- all at Thornton High School. From March 2000 to September 2002, he was a districtwide driver's education teacher. He became director of athletics and activities in September 2002.
In July 2009, the Internal Auditor for Adams County School District 12 met with Thornton police regarding concern over discrepancies in money collected at school functions. Atwood was responsible for collecting and depositing money for school sporting events.
Financial reports generated by Atwood showed larger amounts collected than deposited.
“This case is beyond mere embezzlement or theft. It is a violation of trust," said District Attorney Don Quick. “This man stole from students, tax payers and the school district. In addition, given the current school budget situation, especially with teachers positions and salaries being cut, embezzling from a school is a particularly callous crime.”

2 moms charged with $30K school embezzlement in California

Two California moms have been charged with embezzling $30,000 from their kids' elementary school fund that pays for extras, such as hiring school counselors and kindergarten handwriting programs.

San Jose prosecutors say 42-year-old Jennifer Lee Vazquez and 28-year-old Wendi Marie Hayes oversaw the Baldwin Elementary Home and School Club account. Bank officials notified club officers because of unusual charges to Netflix, J.C. Penney, Old Navy and gas stations.
The two mothers, who were charged in July and are not in custody, face a Santa Clara County court hearing Dec. 16. Vasquez will enter a plea and Hayes will get a date for start of her preliminary hearing.
The San Jose Mercury News says they are charged with grand theft for allegedly pilfering funds from for seven months beginning in September 2009

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

School district audit finds fumbling on fund rules in Arizona

An audit launched during an investigation into allegations against former head football coach Kent Holland alleges Buena High School coaches have been mishandling money related to student fundraising for more than a decade.
On Tuesday, the school board decided in a 4-1 vote that the Colt Booster Club should transfer $40,000 back to the district to be distributed into designated student accounts.
An audit of the club’s disbursements over the past two years found $46,000 to $58,000 was spent in a way that was not allowable because it did not have a direct benefit to students, Superintendent Brett Agenbroad said. The misused funds combined with the club’s current account balances totaled $80,000 to $90,000, but the administration recommended the club transfer the district a settlement of half of the total funds in question.

After realizing the scope of the problem at the high school, the district performed an audit of all district-
affiliated parent-teacher student organizations, booster organizations and clubs. It found organizations not related to Buena athletics were handling their money properly.
Agenbroad said audit findings include:

• The Colt Booster Club was acting as an unauthorized ad hoc bank instead of funds being deposited in a designated district account.

• The club was receiving and disbursing student funds without apparent knowledge of or regard for district policy or Uniform System of Financial Records requirements.

• A long history of Buena High School athletic programs circumventing district policy.

• An established pattern that includes high school coaches, the athletic director and a high school business official being complicit in mishandling of funds.

The administrators primarily responsible for allowing the mismanagement are already gone, Agenbroad said. He later specified he was referring to former Buena Principal Tad Bloss and administrators before him who might have established or allowed the practices.

Agenbroad believes the coaches and booster club were merely following the lead of district staff, he said. Certain activities of staff that were potentially fraudulent were referred to the Sierra Vista Police Department and eventually came to the attention of the county attorney’s officer, as well as the county auditor. The county offices elected not to pursue any charges, citing low staffing and budgetary restrictions as part of their consideration.

The lack of direct punishment is why board member Deb Scott chose not to vote for the $40,000 settlement.

“I just have a problem with that much money being misappropriated, I’m not comfortable with it,” Scott said after Tuesday’s school board meeting. She believes district staff and booster club members should have been held accountable to a greater degree.

“For this to have gone on this long is absolutely a sin,” Scott said during her closing remarks at the meeting.

Former Buena Booster Club Treasurer Thomas Ransford admitted that coaches deposited money with the club directly, though the club did not ask where that money had come from.

“Of course we knew that some of the money was raised by students. We were unaware of that policy or the rules at that time,” Ransford said. When he started helping with the club, it was run by a single individual and no one advised club members they were doing anything wrong until recently, he said. The club then stopped accepting money from the coaches directly.

Ransford asserts that student money was never spent inappropriately and the club accounted for every penny. He mentioned that coaches were spending much of the money on clinics for other youths, which helped further the overall programs at Buena.

Ransford believes the $40,000 settlement to be inaccurate and highly improper, he said. He resigned after receiving a letter from the district demanding $60,000 be deposited into the district’s account. He believes that would be illegal.

“I would be violating my fiduciary duties by giving money that was not mine to another party without the request of the individuals that deposited with me,” Ransford said.

Bonnie Peterson, a member of the Booster Club, wanted to know who did not do their job in the first place in regard to making sure coaches, volunteers and everybody involved understood the policies.

“Who didn’t catch it at the beginning?” Peterson asked.

The district has implemented a re-education program at the high school to make sure the policies are understood and followed, Agenbroad said. “It is difficult to comprehend how with training, the receipt of a handbook, the signature saying, ‘My sponsorship and job is on the line,’ that things can become as fouled-up as they did.”

The Holland matter

The majority of the allegations made specifically against Holland, which resulted in his resignation as head football coach, were apparently unfounded.

“On or about June 22, I received five statements from recently resigned Buena assistant football coaches. In these statements were allegations of irregularities in the high school football program, and they implicated then- head coach Kent Holland as the cause of these irregularities,” Agenbroad said. “The allegations ranged from communication failure, student endangerment, vandalism, and the embezzlement and misuse of student funds.”

The district had a

third-party auditor conduct an investigation, which resulted in few noteworthy findings, Agenbroad said. The one that was significant was his handling of student activity funds, which was not in line with policy but was found to be no different than how any other coach at Buena handled them. The auditor recommended and the district decided to conduct its own audit of its clubs and organizations because the matter fell outside of the scope of the Holland investigation.

“He was exonerated of all allegations short of minor infractions regarding poor communication and lack of experience,” Agenbroad said. During the investigation, Holland was asked if he would consider the best interest of the football program and resign because the outcome of the student funding issue could have impacted his ability to finish the season as coach. Holland resigned this year less than two weeks before the start of official practice for the football season.

Former superintendent indicted for embezzlement in South Carolina

Tuesday afternoon, the state grand jury indicted the former school superintendent of Mullins' schools, Nathaniel Miller, on 37 counts of embezzlement.

In January, state police arrested Miller for stealing more than $500,000 from Marion School District Two in Mullins.
An arrest warrant says he used the money pay mortgages, his children's rent and their college tuition.
Miller resigned as superintendent shortly after his arrest.
Officials say he began taking the money from Marion School District Two in 2006, not long after he was hired as the district's superintendent.
The indictment says Miller embezzled the money through a company he created called Creative Educational Learning Services.
It says the company was set up to defraud the school district.
According to the indictment, Marion School District Two submitted payment to the company multiple times.
It also says in 2004, when Miller served as area superintendent for Richland School District One in Columbia, he embezzled thousands of dollars.
The state grand jury indictment says Miller and a co-conspirator created a company called Renaissance Educational Consultants.
It says Miller submitted invoices to the district for falsely asserted services provided by his company.
According to the indictment, Miller approved the invoices and would cause the funds to be deposited into accounts controlled by him and his co-conspirator.
The indictment goes on to say he also defrauded money from Marion School District Two through Renaissance Educational Consultants.
The South Carolina Attorney General's Office is prosecuting this case.
A trial date for Miller has not been set.
He remains out of jail on a $75,000 bond.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Vt high school coach accused of embezzlement

Police say a Vermont high school football coach has been accused of embezzlement after money he collected for players' sweatshirts ended up in his bank account.

Detective Sgt. David Rowland tells the Bennington Banner players didn't receive the sweatshirts. Mount Anthony Union High School Athletics Director Tim Brown eventually contacted police.
Police noticed that $1,725 raised was in LaLonde's account, instead of a school activities account. Rowland said the money was wired in two installments to a location in Texas to pay LaLonde's rent. Rowland says LaLonde has since returned most of the money.
LaLonde said Saturday he didn't have an attorney and declined to comment further.
A Vermont high school football coach who pleaded guilty to embezzling money he collected for players' sweat shirts said he expects to be exonerated.

Steve LaLonde, 48, of Bennington pleaded guilty Tuesday. Sentencing is set for next week.
LaLonde said the students were not deprived of their sweat shirts, and the shirt company was paid. He says he made a mistake by not following proper school procedures.

Police said $1,725 raised for the sweat shirts was put into LaLonde's account rather than a school activities account. Court documents say LaLonde told police he'd used some of the money to pay his rent.

LaLonde calls it an unfortunate situation that got blown out of proportion.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Helena, Montana woman sentenced for stealing from parent council

A 41-year-old Helena woman must pay $5,000 in restitution for embezzling money from the Bryant Elementary Parent Council.

Rebecca J. Oss received a two-year deferred sentence for felony theft of property by embezzlement by common scheme. She also must perform 20 hours of community service.

Oss pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced Wednesday.

Oss embezzled “in excess of $1,500” from the Bryant Elementary Parent Council in the time between June 7 and Aug. 31, court documents state.

Oss was served with a notice to appear on the charge on Sept. 28.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Youth sports treasurer accused of embezzlement in California

A Corona man has been charged with embezzling $100,000 from a youth sports program that receives money from the city, and the president of the program says he is outraged that the City Council is considering trying to recoup its donation from the organization itself as well as from the defendant.

Cedric Earl Allen, 53, pleaded not guilty Monday in Superior Court in Riverside to two counts each of grand theft, embezzlement, perjury and forgery. Allen also was charged with enhancements of theft of more than $100,000 and taking, damaging or destroying property, according to court documents.
The loss of the money has Corona Youth Sports Foundation officials scrambling to secure more funding. The foundation, created seven years ago by City Councilman Steve Nolan, gives children who live in downtown Corona more athletic opportunities. Its signature program is boxing, and about 40 youths strap on the gloves three times each week at the old City Hall on Sixth Street.
The embezzlement case threatens funding for the Corona Boxing Club. Here, Ref Sanchez and A.J. Ibarra spar.

Allen was treasurer of two organizations: the sports foundation and the Committee to Reelect Steve Nolan. The charges against Allen include an accusation that Allen stole $17,000 from Nolan's campaign committee between 2008 and 2009 and filed false campaign disclosure reports between 2006 and 2009.

On Nov. 3, the City Council, in a 4-0 vote with Nolan recused, directed City Attorney Dean Derleth and other city staff to "investigate the return of funds donated to the Corona Youth Sports Foundation and if necessary pursue litigation against" Allen, Nolan's organization and the sports foundation. The council did not say how much money it is seeking.

Mike Hickey, outgoing president of the sports foundation, said the city should be going after Allen for the money -- not the foundation.

"It's a shame, being the victim of a crime, and we're being looked at as perpetrators," Hickey said.

Nolan criticized the council's decision as "exploring circumventing the prosecution and restitution process of the court."

Mayor Karen Spiegel said the sports foundation was supposed to take better care of the money.

"Nonprofit money is still taxpayer money," Spiegel said, "so we need to do our due diligence and make an effort to let them know that the contract has been violated. They were supposed to be self-sustaining, and they failed."

Neither Nolan nor anyone with the foundation other than Allen has been accused of any crime.

Nolan's organization was targeted because he has said Allen illegally transferred $14,000 from the sports foundation to the campaign account to replace money stolen from Nolan.

Allen admitted taking the money without the permission of Nolan and the sports foundation, according to a declaration written by the Riverside County district attorney's office as it sought an arrest warrant.

Hickey said the foundation did not immediately miss the money because none of its checks bounced.

The foundation has enough money to pay for its programs through the end of January.

"We have a number of kids who really need this program," Hickey said. "We'll keep this program alive."

Church accountant charged in embezzlement investigation in Delaware

Police have arrested a 56-year-old Milton man on 20 charges related to theft from the Bethel United Methodist Church.

John M. Duckworth was employed by the church as an accountant when police were contacted regarding large sums of money missing from the church's bank account.
Duckworth, who also owns a private accounting company, is alleged to have written out checks to himself from December 2007 to July of this year. Police were able to trace 20 checks totaling over $32,000, with amounts ranging from $699 to $2,400.
Police said Duckworth was charged Tuesday and released on a $14,500 unsecured bond.
Because Duckworth has his own accounting business, police believe there could be additional victims. If anyone believes they have been a victim of the suspect's accounting practices, contact Delaware State Police Troop 4 Fraud Unit in Georgetown at 302-856-5850. Callers may remain anonymous. Tips may also be forwarded to police through Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or online at www.tipsubmit.com

Former Penn-Delco School Board VP faces new theft charges in Pennsylvania

When the former vice president of the Penn-Delco School Board was slapped with an embezzlement rap in May 2009, he hired a forensic accountant to whip up a report that he hoped would convince detectives that he hadn't ripped off the high school's booster club.

John Green might have even thought it had worked when Delaware County authorities dropped the theft charges in February.
Turns out they just needed time to chase down all the new leads in his report.
Yesterday, county District Attorney G. Michael Green (no relation to the defendant) refiled charges against Green, 48, of Brookhaven, alleging that for years he'd been using the Sun Valley Sportsters Club account as an extension of his personal bank account.
The "intentionally misleading" forensic-accounting report "became a roadmap to these charges," the district attorney said as Green awaited arraignment on misdemeanor and felony counts of theft, receiving stolen property and forgery.
Prosecutors say that Green - who pleaded no contest in 2007 to engaging in a felony conflict of interest on the school board - deposited dozens of checks from the booster club into his own account while serving as the club's treasurer. The checks, including one made out to his daughter, totaled nearly $22,000.
Female athletes at Sun Valley High School pay fees to belong to Sun Valley Sportsters, which holds a banquet and awards ceremony for members at the end of the school year.
"John Green used the Sun Valley Sportsters Club essentially to subsidize his personal expenses," the district attorney said. "He abused the trust placed in him by the Penn-Delco School District and the young athletes who are members of that sportsters club."
Green's attorney, Michael F.X. Gillin, has previously said that the checks were only reimbursement for money Green had advanced to the club. But authorities allege that the forensic-accounting report contained phony invoices, an apparently nonexistent company and personal expenditures disguised as club-related expenditures.
Gillin declined to comment yesterday, as did Green when he was led out of the Media courthouse in handcuffs.
In 2007, the Daily News reported that Green had falsified financial-disclosure forms while serving on the school board and working for a company paid by the district. Last year, the state Ethics Commission found that to be a violation of the ethics act.
"He's a piece of work," said Anthony Ruggieri, who took over as Penn-Delco's board president in December 2007, after the district was rocked by a scandal. "I'm glad that justice has prevailed, and now the district is able to put this behind us and move forward."
In addition to Green's arrest in 2007, former board president Keith Crego and former superintendent Leslye Abrutyn were convicted on corruption charges.
Crego, who had served as vice chairman of the Aston Republican Party, also pleaded guilty to racketeering, witness intimidation, possession of steroids and other crimes. He resigned from the school board in 2006 amid a sex scandal involving another board member.
"We've cleaned everything up," Ruggieri said, "and we're going to ensure that none of this corruption happens again."

Church treasurer accused of embezzlement in Wisconsin

A church treasurer has been accused of embezzling thousands of dollars.

Jack Roenz has been charged with theft. He was the treasurer at Calvary Lutheran Church in Neillsville for several years. Bank records show he wrote more than $130,000 in checks to himself since 2004.
Investigators say Roenz admitted he embezzled money this year, but that was it. He also said he would find a way to pay back the church. He'll be in court in January.

Port Angeles, Florida man sentenced for embezzling from school PTO, church

A Port Angeles man who pleaded guilty to embezzling money from the Stevens Middle School Parent Teacher Organization has been sentenced to five months in jail.Timothy D. Walsh, 46, was sentenced Thursday in Clallam County Superior Court.He also was sentenced to one month of electronic home monitoring and was ordered to pay more than $63,000 in restitution to several people.
Walsh was charged in March 2008 after writing $5,000 in checks to himself and attempting to deposit more than $18,000 into his personal account, according to court documents.
Eventually more than $63,000 was discovered missing from the organization, a local church that police did not name and from a travel agency he owned, Port Angeles Police Detective Jason Viada said.
At the time of the embezzlement, he was the president of the Parent Teacher Organization.
Walsh agreed to plead guilty in February 2009 to first-degree theft and two counts of first-degree attempted theft, Prosecuting Attorney Deb Kelly said.
The agreement was that if he could pay back $63,000 to organizations from which he had embezzled, he would receive a lighter sentence, Kelly said.Walsh was given more than a year to sell his house, Kelly said.
He has not repaid the money, so he will pay it back over time after he serves his five months in jail, Kelly said.The money missing from the PTO was discovered in late February 2008 when Walsh gave a box of checks to the treasurer, Harriet Shafer, according to court documents.
Four checks were missing, with one of them made out to Walsh on Feb. 28 and another made out to him on March 6, the documents said.
The other two checks remain missing.
He also withdrew $10,569.50 from the account in a check made out to Southwest Airlines, the documents said.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Former Journeys Academy principal charged with embezzling $350,000 in Naples,Florida

The former principal of the now-defunct Journeys Academy was arrested Tuesday on federal charges of wire fraud.
Investigators said Larry Christopher, 55, of the 1300 block Remington Way, North Naples, misappropriated about $350,000 from the former Journey’s Academy, 10641 Airport Pulling Road N., Suite 28. The investigation determined that Christopher embezzled the money between 2007 and July 2009 while he was employed at the academy as its chief financial officer.
The warrant was served Tuesday at Christopher’s home following more than a year-long investigation by the Collier County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Secret Service. The State Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Naples also assisted with the investigation.
School founder Loren Hoffman reported the incident to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office in August 2009. According to police reports, Hoffman opened an operating account for the school that required two signatures for proper authorization. The signatures required were Hoffman’s and a name that was redacted from police reports, according to the report.
During the course of the first quarter of 2009, according to the report, the employee allegedly opened a second business account without Hoffman as an authorized signer on the account.
The suspect in the report is redacted, but under the suspect’s employment, the report has a redacted line and then the words CFO, an acronym that normally stands for chief financial officer.
Christopher handled the school’s finances.
This is not Christopher’s first run-in with the law.
In September 2002, Christopher was fired from Golden Gate Middle School because he didn’t disclose that he’d been convicted of four felony mail fraud charges and sentenced to 30 months in federal prison, followed by three years of probation. A federal judge had also ordered him to repay his victims $1.5 million. A $1.573 million lien, with 1.81 percent interest, against him is filed in Collier County.
School officials were unaware of the indictment and conviction because he was hired as a substitute teacher in October 2001, indicted less than two months later and didn’t disclose it. When he was indicted, he told the Cleveland Plain Dealer he had committed no fraud and questioned why he was being charged years after he’d closed his company.
He was tried and convicted in May 2002, sentenced in July 2004 and appealed. He lost his appeal a year later, appealed again to a higher court, but was denied a hearing and ordered to serve his sentence. He surrendered at a prison in Maxwell, Ala., in December 2005, according to Federal Bureau of Prisons records, which also show he was released on Nov. 9, 2007.
State incorporation papers for Journeys Academy Inc. were filed in October 2008, listing Hoffman as president, Christopher as vice president and his wife, Janice, as a director with Clay Vaughn of Naples and Jon Biffar of Cape Coral.
In July 2009, parents of Journeys students received an e-mail from Hoffman saying the school would not open for the 2009-10 school year.
"Dear parents, Larry Christopher is no longer working for Journeys Academy. No further information can be given while this case is under investigation by the authorities. Consequently, and unfortunately, Journeys Academy will be closed for this 2009-2010 school year. For McKay participants, please contact your district representative for directions," the letter reads, which was signed by Hoffman for the corporation.
McKay scholarships are for students with disabilities and provide families with state money to allow those children to attend private schools.
Several parents said at the time they wondered how they were going to get back thousands of dollars in tuition to the school, adding the alarm sounded for them at the end of the 2008-09 school year when teachers informed parents that Hoffman had told them they were behind on rent and might be evicted by their landlord before the end of the school year.
The school is also facing a suit against two teachers who said they were not compensated for their work.
At the time, parent Thomas Gary said he wasn’t surprised law enforcement was looking into Journeys.
"The IRS showed up at the school to collect back taxes," he said. "We paid our tuition. They had the scholarships. We did the fund raising. Where did the money go? There were too many questions that weren’t addressed at all."

Monday, November 8, 2010

Priest charged with embezzlement in Virginia

A former priest accused of embezzling from the church he presided over has been released on a surety bond for $25,000 with the condition that he stays in Virginia, according to a spokesperson with Norfolk Circuit Court.Joseph Hai-Nguyen, 65, is accused of embezzling from Our Lady of Lavang Catholic Church in Norfolk from January 2003 to September 2008.He was arrested on October 28 in Texas and brought back to Norfolk to face 11 counts of embezzlement.Further information has not been released.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Former Miss. Band Director Accused Of Embezzlement

Court records show a former band director at St. Martin High School has been indicted on a felony charge of embezzlement on suspicion that he stole more than $10,000 for his own use.

A Jackson County grand jury indicted Charles T. Simpson, 39, in September.
He's listed as a faculty member on the website at Forrest County Agricultural High School, where he was arrested last week.
The embezzlement took place between February and October 2005, according to court records.
Following his arrest in Forrest County, authorities told The Sun Herald that Simpson was transferred to the Jackson County Jail. He was released on a $10,000 bond Monday.
It was not immediately known whether Simpson has an attorney.

A band director for a South Mississippi school is back on the job despite still facing embezzlement charges from another school.

Forrest County Agricultural High School Band Director Charles Simpson had been placed on administrative leave with pay in early November following his arrest on charges of embezzling more than $10,000 from his former employer, St. Martin's High School on the Gulf Coast.
The Jackson County grand jury indictment accused the 39-year-old $10,000 dollars from the school in 2005. Friday, Forrest County School Board members voted to let Simpson return to the school effective immediately.
Simpson is traveling with the band Friday as Forrest County travels to Northeast Lauderdale to play in high school football playoffs

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Rogers City, Michigan woman stands mute on embezzlement charge

The woman accused of embezzling more than $100,000 from a Rogers City church was back in court Monday.Kristie Kelley, 55, is charged with one count of embezzlement of $100,000 or more, while being an agent, servant or employee of St. Ignatius Catholic Church. Kelley was a long time employee of the church and solely responsible for collecting church donations and for depositing that money.On Monday she stood mute to the charge and a not guilty plea was entered on her behalf. In addition, the court reduced Kelley’s bond to $20,000 and released her home which had previously been pledged toward a higher bond. By releasing the property, Kelley is being allowed to mortgage the property and any proceeds of a sale will be applied toward restitution.A restitution hearing will be held at a later date to determine how much she must pay back.Presque Isle County Prosecutor Rick Steiger said Kelley is expected to plead guilty at her next hearing, scheduled for December 13. Details of the plea agreement have not yet been released.

Monday, November 1, 2010

JR Cheerleaders President Charged With Embezzlement in North Carolina

A woman who was the President of a junior cheerleading squad now faces embezzlement charges. Police in Elkin said they were contacted in September about 'suspicions' of missing money from the Junior Elks Cheerleaders' account.
According to warrants and a police report obtained by WFMY News 2, the investigation started after two board members told police that only two people had access to the Cheerleading account. They said they were able to rule out one person, the Treasurer. The appointed Treasurer had informed the board that they no longer had to access the organization's account, and hadn't for years.

The board members also told officers they confronted the person they were suspicious of, and she gave them receipts. They said after reviewing them they found discrepancies. They said the person told them that the account was already in the negative when she took over.
Police said Jessica Hall Abdou was identified as the person being accused of taking the money. They told police whenever cheerleaders needed something, Abdou told them there was no money in the account. Board members said Abdou was the only person with an ATM card to the account.
Detectives started their investigation in mid September and asked for all receipts, property and notes since Abdou took over as President. They contacted Abdou for more receipts but she told them that her computer with the receipts was stolen in a break-in.
On October 4, police subpoena a Bank Fraud investigator, where the account was held. The fraud investigator told police the account was closed. Elkin Police said he was still able to provide information requested in the subpoena.
According to a warrant, Jessica Hall Abdou was charged Friday with embezzlement from the Junior Elks Cheerleading squad at Elkin Elementary School.
Abdou was fingerprinted at the magistrate office and released