Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Virginia Man Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

A Penderbrook man accused of stealing more than $700,000 from an organization that helps the world’s poor pleaded guilty March 4 to three counts of embezzlement. He is Eun Tae Lee, 51, of Wedgeway Court in Fair Oaks.

Deputy Charles Perinis, an investigator with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, explained the case against him in a March 30, 2010 affidavit for a warrant to search Lee’s home for possible evidence.
According to the affidavit, on March 26, 2010, members of the SEED International — a faith-based, nonprofit in Sterling — told authorities that their former financial officer, Lee, had embezzled "in excess of $700,000 from their organization. They informed [Perinis] that Lee accomplished this by gaining control of the church’s bank accounts and writing checks from these accounts to individual accounts he’d established in his own name."
The deputy wrote that Lee then used this money "to support a lavish lifestyle that included his residence on Wedgeway Court, the rent for an apartment at 4602 Commons Drive in Annandale, the purchase of a 2006 Porsche Cayenne [SUV] and his personal living expenses."
Furthermore, wrote Perinis, when members of SEED International asked Lee about the missing money, he "produced counterfeit financial documents and bank statements to show a falsified investment of the church’s funds." The deputy noted that, upon questioning, a bank representative confirmed that the bank letters and statements "were, in fact, counterfeit."
SEED International assists missionaries from a Sterling-based church with funding. The group’s Web site states its goal as "to provide humanitarian aid and services to the poorest of the poor in the developing world, especially in the areas of Survival, Education, and Economic Development" (SEED).
Lee turned himself in to the Loudoun Sheriff’s Office on April 15, 2010, and was charged with 16 counts of embezzlement. Then on July 12 of that year, the Loudoun County grand jury indicted him on every count
After various delays, he was scheduled for a March 14 jury trial but, instead, pleaded guilty to three counts of embezzlement on March 4. In exchange, the other 13 counts were dropped. Judge Thomas Horne then set his sentencing for June 30.

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