Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Woman Accused of Embezzling Thousands from St. Joseph Church in Missouri

FROM  StJoeChannel.com -

A business manager is accused of stealing more than $30,000 from a St. Joseph church.

Police arrested Pamela A. West, 49, Monday after receiving an embezzlement report from Wyatt Park Christian Church earlier this month.
West, a former business manager for the church, is now charged with felony stealing.

According to court documents, West used Wyatt Park's checking account and credit cards to pay her bills and make purchases.

The prosecutor's office alleges West forged another woman's name on checks from the church's account to pay her monthly rent, totaling $6,800 from Sept. 2011 to June 2012.

West is also accused of writing payroll checks to herself worth nearly $20,000.

Police said an anonymous tip helped uncover the mismanagement of funds.

Det. Richard Shelton said after the church learned of the allegations, they reviewed the books and noticed how much money was missing.
He said the church is still reviewing the funds.

West is being held at the Buchanan County jail on a $15,000 bond.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Indiana church's ex-bookkeeper pleads guilty to embezzling more than $364 thousand for personal use

From http://www.greenfieldreporter.com-

A northeastern Indiana church's former bookkeeper has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $364,000 in church funds.

Beth Boger of Garrett pleaded guilty Thursday to all 10 counts contained in an indictment issued last year by a federal grand jury. Those charges range from wire fraud to tax evasion.
The Journal Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/Pj1XAs ) that as part of her guilty plea, Boger agreed to repay $364,436 for her conduct and an additional $50,385 in taxes due.
Court documents allege that for nearly five years, Boger embezzled funds from St. Joseph Catholic Church in Garrett and used the money to support her household and lifestyle. She allegedly embezzled the money between June 2004 to April 2009.
Boger will be sentenced at a later date.

Suspect in El Rincon Missing Funds Case Convicted of Grand Theft by Embezzlement in California


Cheryl Noda, who was charged with stealing funds from the El Rincon Elementary School PTA, was convicted of one count of grand theft by embezzlement in a Los Angeles court Thursday morning.

Noda was charged April 12 with two counts of grand theft by embezzlement, one count of second-degree commercial burglary and two counts of forgery. She pleaded not guilty to all charges at the time.

However, Noda pleaded no contest Thursday morning to one count of grand theft by emebezzlement. The four other charges were dropped. Noda will serve three years of formal probation for the crime. She has also been ordered to undergo 90 days of community service and has had one day of her sentence reduced after spending 24 hours in the LA County jail, Sandi Gibbons of the District Attorney's Office told Patch.

The former treasurer of El Rincon Elementary School's PTA was accused of stealing $23,700 in 2011 and a charge was filed back in November with the Culver City Police Department.

El Rincon PTA President Aimee Tarver called an emergency meeting last November to discuss the missing money. The PTA board made a request for an audit in October, when the money was first discovered missing, according to Tarver. She told Patch at that time the discrepancies could be traced back to January 2011.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Insurance agent charged with embezzlement of Youth Football League in North Carolina


A Yadkinville insurance agency owner, who is also the longtime commissioner of a regional youth football league that works with schools, has been charged with making a false statement in connection with insurance for the league, according to the North Carolina Department of Insurance.

Charles Everett Collins, 69, of St. Andrews Court, Yadkinville, turned himself in Sunday to the Yadkin County Sheriff's Office and was arrested. He is scheduled for his first appearance in Yadkin County District Court today.

Collins is also charged, in matters unrelated to the football program, with one count of embezzlement by an insurance agent and one count of common law forgery. Department of Insurance investigators said that Collins forged a signature on a $4,452 refund check that was issued to a policyholder and deposited the money into the agency's bank account without the policyholder's permission.

The charge of making a false statement is in connection with the Yadkinville Sertoma Club's football program, which fields teams in cooperation with school systems in Alleghany, Ashe, and Wilkes counties and the town of Elkin. Some of the school systems have teams for younger players, and some field only middle school teams that correspond to the respective high school team conference.

That means a player can play through the Sertoma league in middle school, and then face teams largely made up of the same opposing players when the youth gets to the high school level. The high school teams are offered by the school systems.

Last February, the Alleghany County Board of Commissioners asked the Department of Insurance to investigate whether the Sertoma league had valid liability insurance. A number of complaints had been raised about how the program was operating.

Investigators with the Department of Insurance said Collins signed and issued a certificate of insurance for the football program when he knew the policy had been cancelled for months because of non-payment of premiums.

Collins, owner of Moore-Moxley Insurance Agency, as well as the commissioner of Sertoma football for about 30 years, said Tuesday that he's still commissioner and that the program's insurance was valid.

"Yes, it was," he said. "We had insurance in place, but we just made an invalid policy number."

He referred other questions to his Yadkinville attorney, Tom Fagerli, who did not respond to a phone message.

It appears the players had accident insurance, which would have covered them for football-related injuries, said Alleghany County Manager Don Adams.

With games being played at high school football fields, it could have become a complex legal matter as to whose liability insurance would have paid, for instance, if a spectator were injured.

Some of the local schools had their own liability coverage in place for the Sertoma league, but all were told that Sertoma provided a liability policy when it did not, said Alleghany County Schools Superintendent Jeff Cox.

The issues surrounding Sertoma football have been long simmering, but have come to a head at a crucial time for the program, which saw its commissioner arrested the day after the season began.

Superintendents from Alleghany, Ashe, Wilkes and Elkin have been talking to one another this week and decided to continue with the program this year, said Ashe County Schools Superintendent Travis Reeves.

They're handling their insurance directly, with the schools pooling the money and paying the premium to Nationwide, Cox said.

Yadkin County Schools had middle school players in Sertoma football in 2011, but pulled out for this season because of concerns about how the program was being handled.

Yadkin Superintendent Stuart Hobbs said he asked Collins in September 2011, a few weeks after the season began, about whether the program had liability insurance. Hobbs said Collins showed him a certificate showing proof of liability insurance.

The arrest warrant says that on Sept. 6, 2011, Collins issued a certificate of insurance when the policy had actually been cancelled in February 2011. "The defendant issued and signed the certificate as valid knowing the certificate contained misinformation," the warrant said.

"We had a lot of concerns about the transparency, accountability," Hobbs said. "There were questions about liability insurance, questions about funds. The bottom line was we had questions about how the program was being administered and run and we asked for clarification and did not get clarification that suited us."

Superintendents for Alleghany County Schools, Ashe County Schools, Elkin City Schools and Wilkes County Schools had questions as well, and directed them to Collins in a Jan. 17 letter. They raised issues about the insurance coverage, as well as gate money that was not documented with receipts.

Collins agreed to keep better financial records.

In February, two coaches appeared before the Alleghany County Board of Commissioners to talk about the concerns. That's when commissioners instructed the county attorney to ask the Department of Insurance to investigate.

In a telephone interview shortly after that meeting, Collins said the coaches were trying to form their own league.

"All these people that are trying to overthrow us; they're on a witch hunt really," he said.

The Charles Everett Collins who is commissioner of Sertoma football is not the same Charles Collins who is in prison for financial crimes related to North Wilkesboro Speedway. The man in prison is Charles W. Collins Jr., and is not related to the insurance agent.

Polk County Church Administrator Wanted for Arrest in Embezzlement of His Employer in Florida


Investigators with the Polk County, Florida Sheriff's Office have issued an arrest warrant for a former church administrator who allegedly pilfered funds from his employer. Durfey was fired as church administrator after an employee found documents in his wastebasket showing suspicious ATM activity, Senior Pastor Jim Rogers said Saturday.

A former church administrator named Oliver ‘Dan' Durfey is facing a variety of charges including scheming to defraud and grand theft.

There has been a warrant issued but deputies have been unable to locate the 54-year-old so far.

According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, the former church employee committed the alleged crimes over a 26-month period beginning in April 2010. Investigators say Durfey was employed by the First Baptist Church of Poinciana, located in Polk County.

Investigators say the suspect used church funds for personal use and obtained a debit card which Durfey used to purchase over $56,000 in goods and services.

Durfey's position in the church gave him access to two of the church's checking accounts and a savings account.

Furthermore, investigators say Mr. Durfey used church funds to pay for two booths at political venues during his campaign. Investigators say they found he is a candidate for clerk of the court in Osceola County. Durfey is one of four Republicans on Tuesday's primary ballot.

Durfey made claims on his on-line Campaign Treasurer's Report, stating he took out two personal loans totaling $10,000. The church has confirmed from bank records that indicate those particular funds came from their accounts and not the suspects.

Police investigating alleged embezzlement of Northwest Athletic Booster funds in Michigan


Police are investigating an alleged embezzlement of funds from the Northwest Athletic Boosters.

Detective Robert Shrock of the Blackman-Leoni Township Department of Public Safety would not release a name pending the outcome of the investigation, which he said could take up to a couple of weeks.

However, Shrock said the person being investigated is a member of the group’s board, and that about $8,000 appears to be missing from the account that supports Northwest Community Schools athletic teams.

The boosters called an emergency meeting Tuesday night that was attended by about 40 people, according to Kevin Fleming, booster president in 2009-10. Those in attendance were informed that only about $200 remained in the group’s account, Fleming said.

“This person stole from a bunch of children,” Fleming said. “Everyone there was feeling shock and anger.”
Results of the police investigation will be turned over to the prosecutor’s office for possible charges, Shrock said.

Northwest Superintendent Geoff Bontrager declined to comment pending the outcome of the police investigation. Bontrager did say, however, that while the boosters are a support group of the school district, they are a separate financial entity.
Fundraising to support Northwest’s athletic teams is a big part of the boosters, Fleming said. He said he worries that this incident may harm those efforts.

“I’m saddened,” Fleming said. “This is a good group of people who do good things for kids and I worry that now the trust is gone. I really hope this will rally people to get behind the group and take it to the next level to overcome this.”

Former Cros-Lex schools employee to be charged with embezzlement in Michigan


Croswell Police Chief Dave Hall said he has requested a former Croswell-Lexington Middle School secretary to be charged with four counts of embezzlement.

The 38-year-old Lexington Township woman may be arraigned next week on four charges of embezzling more than $1,000 but less than $20,000.

Hall said the alleged embezzlement occurred during a four year period.

The police department began its investigation in June after the school reported discrepancies in some of its accounts after the woman resigned.
The missing money was from fund-raisers, Hall said. The woman was given money collected to deposit, and it appeared to go missing between the time it was turned in and taken to the bank, he said.

"The district is deeply disappointed that an employee would violate the public's trust as is alleged in this case," said Kevin Miller, the district's superintendent.

"The district had a system in place to prevent this type of thing from occurring, two different people handle all funds coming into the office which are then deposited into the student activity fund account. Despite those safe guards with two people handling the money, it appears this one individual found a way to get around the system."

Sanilac County Prosecutor James V. Young said the woman is scheduled to be arraigned on charges at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 11

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Embezzlement Investigation of Former Virginia School Bookkeeper


A former bookkeeper at a Lynchburg preschool is facing criminal charges, accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the school.

A grand jury indicted Allyson Lowery on Monday for embezzlement.

Lynchburg police began investigating her in June for allegedly stealing $8,500 from the First Presbyterian Weekday Preschool.
They say the money went missing over two to three years.

The chairman of the board of directors says she's no longer employed there.

He had no comment on the investigation, saying only-- "The week day school is in good shape and looking forward to the new school year."

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ex-administrator at First Churches in Northampton, Massachusetts accused of embezzlement

From - http://blog.congregationalsecurityinc.com.

A former administrator at the First Churches pleaded not guilty Friday to charges she bilked donors to the church and other local service organizations out of nearly $18,000.

Giselle L. Dudley, 42, of 48 Keith St., Springfield, faces 56 charges in Northampton District Court, including 25 counts of check forgery, 25 counts of uttering a false check, five counts of unauthorized access to a computer system and one count of larceny by a single scheme (embezzlement).

According to Northampton Police Detective Patrick D. Moody, the criminal investigation into Dudley's handling of donations to the church began in December 2011 after a donor asked for a tax receipt for her $9,000 contribution.

No such deposit appeared in the church's records, but a copy of the cancelled check from the donor showed that a check in that amount had been made out to the church and endorsed by Dudley.

Dudley told police she had deposited the check, believing it was meant for her as part of a fundraising effort by church members to help her and her family recover from a house fire in June 2011. Dudley told police she had contacted the donor to confirm the intended destination of the money and said she believed it was for her family's recovery efforts.

Former high school principal pleads guilty in Mississippi


A candidate for superintendent of education in Noxubee County has pleaded guilty to embezzlement.

Roger Liddell committed the crime while working as a high school principal in the Mississippi Delta.

Liddell will serve three years on probation and will have a non-adjudicated sentence resulting in no criminal record.

“While I am pleased Roger Liddell has taken responsibility for his actions against the schoolchildren in Washington County, I am equally displeased by the fact that in three years, Roger Liddell will have no criminal record,” said State Auditor Stacey Pickering.

Liddell was also ordered to make restitution to the school system for $26,232.69.

The State Auditor’s Office investigated the purchase of $73,032.88 in inventory, including computers, televisions and video equipment.

Following an investigation, it was determined Liddell purchased the equipment with school district funds but diverted the equipment for personal use.

All equipment purchased was seized by the State Auditor’s Office during the investigation and will be returned to the Hollandale School District.

Where appropriate, items will be used by students or sold to recover funds embezzled by Liddell.

In 2011, Liddell ran for superintendent of education in Noxubee County and was forced to run again in a special election this year.

Liddell is currently suing as a result of his loss in the special election.

Retired Calhoun County Circuit Judge Henry Lackey is set to hear Liddell’s challenge on August 20 at the Noxubee County Courthouse.

Worcester, Delaware teacher arrested on theft charges


Authorities in Worcester County have charged a middle school teacher accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the teachers union while she was treasurer.

Police also said the Worcester County Teacher's Association conspired to cover up the theft by making arrangements for restitution without contacting authorities that a crime had occurred.

Denise Inez Owens, 58, of Ocean Pines was responsible for the taking of more than $433,000 from accounts belonging to the Worcester County Teacher's Association, according to the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation.

At the time, Owens was in charge of all financial transactions for the WCTA, said Detective Kyle Clark, lead investigator.

"She had full access to the account," he said. "Nobody really checked it."

But after a while, the WCTA started to notice a few inconsistencies in its accounting. In early 2009, the union decided to hire an outside agency to audit its books, Clark said.

It was that forensic audit that showed the organization was short $433,784.52. Police did not break down how much money went missing from year to year.

No one outside the WCTA seemed to take notice for years. The police began investigating in February after The Daily Times published IRS tax filings that claimed Owens -- then going by her former married name of Denise Tull -- had oversight of more than $110,000 in WCTA losses for tax year 2009.

According to a publicly available tax filing dated March 13, 2011, obtained by The Daily Times, the union documented $111,589 in what it called "misappropriated funds" and noted the amount was pending an audit by a bonding company.

A letter attached to the tax filing stated Tull resigned as WCTA treasurer on March 31, 2009, and before that time, she had represented that all tax filings were current.

"However, the (WCTA) officers learned not only had the returns not been filed, but a substantial amount of money was embezzled (more than $100,000)," the letter stated.

Police in February began a theft investigation. It revealed that while treasurer, Owens allegedly had written numerous unauthorized checks to herself and others, and made withdrawals from the account for "personal issues and debt," police said. Clark declined to elaborate on the nature of those issues.

Police also said they learned Owens and WCTA attorneys agreed to have Owens begin paying restitution, but law enforcement was never notified of any theft or embezzlement.

When detectives met with WCTA leadership, "they denied any involvement with what was going on," Clark said.

"They didn't necessarily say it didn't happen," he said. "They didn't want to talk about it. They weren't cooperating."

Owens was arrested Friday. She was charged with theft scheme more than $500 and two counts of theft $500-plus. She posted $100,000 bond and is scheduled for a preliminary court hearing on Sept. 7.

When reached by phone Tuesday, Owens declined to comment. Clark said Owens' statements to police were limited before she secured an attorney.

Owens has been teaching in Worcester County since 1988, according to the school board. At the time of her arrest, she was employed as a special education teacher at Stephen Decatur Middle School.

"We are aware of the arrest and are currently reviewing the charges," said Barb Witherow, spokeswoman for Worcester County public schools. "This is a very serious matter. Upon thorough review, the Superintendent (Jerry Wilson) will be taking appropriate action."

Current WCTA president Helen Schoffstall said in a Jan. 11 interview that the union had accounted for all its funds.

"WCTA did not lose any money," she said. "WCTA finances were not out any money to my knowledge."

Phone messages asking for comment went unreturned Tuesday by Schoffstall, former WCTA President Terry Springle and Susan Russell, chief counsel for the Maryland State Education Association.

The WCTA most recently filed taxes Jan. 12. The filing notes the organization has about $60,000 in revenue and $49,000 in expenses for filing year 2010.

The group's tax-exempt status has been revoked since October 2011, according to the website Guidestar, which tracks IRS filings made by nonprofit agencies.

Additional Facts


The Maryland State Education Association issued this statement on the case Tuesday night:

Charges recently have been filed against Denise Owens, former elected treasurer of the Worcester County Teachers Association (WCTA), an affiliate of the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA). When MSEA discovered that WCTA had fallen into arrears in its scheduled state transmission of dues, the association confronted Ms. Owens, then treasurer of WCTA. Although Ms. Owens promptly resigned her position as treasurer and agreed to restitution, MSEA triggered a full investigation, including a forensic audit, which was submitted to a bonding company. The investigation determined that the funds in question were owed to MSEA and NEA rather than WCTA, and that the local dues money was not part of the mishandled funds. Ultimately, the bonding company's investigation was closed with no criminal or civil action and an agreement for restitution from Ms. Owens. Following this incident, MSEA and WCTA immediately implemented procedural changes to create greater transparency and oversight and avoid any future similar occurrences. At no time was there a loss of programs or services to WCTA members due to this issue.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

School official accused of embezzlement pleads guility in California


A former school superintendent in San Mateo County accused of billing one school district for work done on his home and misappropriating funds from another district has reached a plea deal.

The Palo Alto Daily News reports (http://bit.ly/OlL5Lu) that Timothy Hanretty pleaded no contest on Tuesday to multiple counts of misappropriating funds in exchange for a prison sentence of no more than four years. He originally faced embezzlement charges as well. Those charges stemmed from allegations that he billed the Portola Valley School District about $101,000 for renovation work at his home while serving as the district's superintendent.

Hanretty's attorney says he plans to make restitution to Portola Valley.

Prosecutors also say Hanretty misappropriated funds from Woodside Elementary School District, taking out $2 million in additional loans for school projects although that money had not been approved by the school board.

Trial Postponed in Pontiac, Michigan School Embezzlement Trial

Many companies and government entities have been affected by the downturn of the economy. This country’s educational institutions have seen budgets cut, employees laid off, and therefore look to school administrators to make wise decisions to keep spending in check in order for students to receive the best education possible in these lean times. Unfortunately for one Michigan school district, the administrator in charge of the district’s finances abused his office for personal gain.

Jumanne Sledge, the Assistant Superintendent for Organization and Development, was charged for embezzling $230,000 in Pontiac School District funds in 2011. In his position with the school district, Sledge was responsible for oversight of finances and human resources. He was suspended last year for mismanagement of funds. According to investigators, Sledge directed a Pontiac district employee to write a check to him in the amount of $236,000 payable to “Leadership Academy.” Sledge then allegedly deposited the check into an account that he controlled. Two months later, Sledge opened another account and deposited $200,000 of those funds, which he then used for personal expenses.

The check was discovered when Pontiac School District Security Chief, Darryl Cosby, had been investigating finances at the school board’s request after the district’s deficit doubled in two years. Crosby turned the check over to FBI investigators.

The Bloomfield Hills resident voluntarily turned himself into authorities and was accompanied by his lawyer at his arraignment in March of this year. The United States Department of Justice in Detroit indicted Sledge on charges of program fraud and money laundering after the FBI investigated the case. Sledge entered a plea of not guilty and was released on an unsecured bond.

The trial for Sledge was scheduled for July 24, but has now been postponed until September 11.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Embezzlement Investigation At Kentwood Church in Michigan


There is an ongoing criminal investigation into possible embezzlement of finances at a church in Kentwood, according to the Kent County Sheriff's Department.

Sources tell Fox 17 News it involves one of the pastors at Heritage Baptist Church, located off 60th street in Kentwood and may have been going for several years.

The parish has roughly 750 members.

Investigators say the church filed a complaint this week, prompting the investigation that began on Wednesday.

"Kent County Sherriff's Department was contacted by Heritage Baptist Church to address a matter of misappropriation or embezzlement of funds," explained Kent County Undersheriff Jon Hess.

"These types of investigations really take a long time. We have to do a lot of researching, auditing of funds," said Hess.

Fox 17 was told that some church members were informed about the incident on Sunday evening at a meeting, but were advised not to discuss the issue. The church issued a brief statement on Wednesday.

"An incident has occurred. It has been turned over to the Kent County Sheriff for investigation, no further statement is authorized until completion of their investigation," said spokesperson Mark Antram, who is a Christian Education Pastor at Heritage Baptist Church.
The Sheriff's Department said some church members knew something may be going on with the finances before, but they were not seeking charges. Now, that they filed a complaint, the investigation will begin. The information from the audit will be turned over to the prosecutor's office for possible charges.

"Depending on how money may have been embezzled or how it was done, those all have an impact on the type of charges the prosecutor will look at," said Hess.