Thursday, February 28, 2013

Former Knightdale PTA president charged with embezzlement – again in North Carolina

The former president of the Forestville Road Elementary PTA has been charged again with stealing money from the organization and trying to cover it up.
Juli Ann Williams, 42, of 2224 Bufflehead Road north of Knightdale, was arrested Wednesday after Knightdale police concluded that she embezzled $4,129 in PTA funds she had reported stolen from her car last September. Police say the embezzlement happened on Sept. 27.
It was the second embezzlement charge levied against Williams since Knightdale police began investigating her report that PTA money was stolen from her car. In October, Knightdale police charged Williams with embezzling $1,500 from the school after auditing the PTA’s financial records and discovering the money had gone missing on July 20.
Altogether, police say, Williams took $5,629 from the organization.
Knightdale police investigated the $4,129 reported stolen from Williams’ car until this week when “we finally got the evidence we needed to show that those were stolen (by Williams),” Knightdale Police Chief Jason Godwin said.
Knightdale police declined to provide details on how they concluded Williams stole the $4,129. The money was never recovered.
Police said Williams was scheduled to appear at the Wake County Courthouse on Thursday

Read more here:

Plea agreement reached for embezzlement case involving Little League in Michigan

A Grayling woman, who said she took funds from the Grayling Little League and Grayling High School accounts for sports teams, plead guilty to a third of the criminal charges she faced last week.

Sandra Enos plead guilty to one count of embezzlement $1,000-$20,000 for funds taken from Grayling High School accounts. She also plead guilty to one count of $1,000-$20,000 for funds taken from Grayling Little League accounts. Finally, Enos plead guilty to one count for forgery regarding Grayling Little League financial records.

Two counts of embezzlement $1,000-$20,000, from separate cases involving the Grayling Little League accounts, were dismissed as part of the plea deal. Two counts of forgery were also dismissed. Finally, two misdemeanor cases of embezzlement-agent under $200, which were pending in Crawford County District Court, were also dismissed.

Enos testified that she deposited funds into her personal accounts and forged the name of a Grayling Little League Board member on a check.

The funds involved in the cases came from checks donated to the Grayling Little League, Grayling Viking Football Club and the Grayling High School Spirit Club, totaling $21,601.22.

Enos will have to pay $19,146.22 in restitution back to the Grayling Little League, $900 to the Grayling High School Spirit Club and $1,465 to the Grayling Viking Football Club. The parent-run spirit clubs solicit donations to ensure that student athletes are properly nourished and energized before their games played outside the community.

46th Trial Court Judge George J. Mertz accepted the plea agreement.

Enos was arrested on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012 for the seven felony charges and two misdemeanor charges.

Scott Gabriel, president of the Grayling Little League Board of Directors, said he would have liked to have seen Enos forced to plea to all the charges she faced.

"I'm not real happy with it, but I guess that's the way it works," he said.

Enos met with Michigan Department of Corrections probation and parole staff after her court hearing.

Gabriel is hopeful that all the funds Enos is accused of embezzling will be returned, but the organization also has an insurance claim pending for its losses.

"There is a possibility that we would get the insurance claim and they would have to deal with her to pay them back," Gabriel said.

Gabriel said the embezzled funds have resulted in equipment not being purchased for Little League and not sending teams to tournaments.

"It's very sad and very disheartening that this happened," Gabriel said. "The program would have been in a much better standing."

Heading into a time when youth will hit the fields to play ball, Gabriel said that the Grayling Little League has 15 new board members who are eager to pitch in and help the organization.

"I think the program is going to be back up to where it should be and I feel real confident about that," Gabriel said.

Crawford AuSable School District Superintendent Joe Powers had just learned of the plea deal last week, and reserved commenting on the case until Enos is sentenced. Powers noted that the funds Enos embezzled were from private-parent run accounts that were not affiliated with the school district.

Enos resigned from the Crawford AuSable School Board of Education on July 25, citing personal reasons. She served on the board about five years.

Embezzlement $1,000-$20,000 is a five-year felony with a $10,000 fine of three times the amount embezzled. Forgery is a 14-year felony

Youth League Treasurer Denies Theft in Colorado

The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office has identified the suspect in the embezzlement of an estimated $650,000 from the Arapahoe Youth League, but the woman strongly denies involvement in the theft.
Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said 51-year-old Pamela Schlehuber is suspected of pilfering the money from the youth sports league over the course of five years and she will likely be criminally charged in several weeks, when the complex financial investigation is completed.
But Schlehuber, who served as AYL treasurer, told CBS4 investigators are wrong, “I didn’t take any money. When I turned the books back over, there was no money missing.”
 Schlehuber was treasurer for the AYL until 2011 according to the organization.
It coordinates sports for about 6,000 boys and girls from Castle Rock to Northeast Denver.
According to an announcement posted on the AYL website by its President Craig Randall in August 2012, the board of directors conducted a review of bookkeeping records “and uncovered potential issues with the accounting of the AYL funds.”
 The organization then notified the Arapahoe County Sheriff which began a financial investigation involving multiple bank accounts.
Investigators say that probe has led them to Schlehuber who has not been arrested or charged and does not have a criminal record in Colorado.
Contacted by CBS4 by phone Wednesday,
 Schlehuber repeatedly said investigators were mistaken in accusing her of financial impropriety.
“That is so not true,” Schlehuber said. She told CBS4 she has talked to Arapahoe County investigators twice, once in person and once by phone.
Records show she has served as bookkeeper for several other youth organizations and is currently a church bookkeeper. She said she was the paid treasurer for AYL for “a lot of years. I need to see where this is going.”
The Arapahoe County Sheriff said the district attorney is “in the loop” on the case.
On its website, the AYL President noted that, “Notwithstanding this unfortunate turn of events… there has never been and there never will be an interruption in the services provided by the AYL to all of the families and players.”

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Head of Mexico's teachers' union accused of embezzlement

The head of Mexico's powerful teachers' union was arrested at an airport near Mexico City Tuesday for alleged embezzlement, with federal officials accusing her of using union funds to pay for plastic surgery, to buy a house in San Diego and even to pay her bill at Neiman Marcus.
Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam said that Elba Esther Gordillo, who has led the 1.5 million-member National Union of Education Workers for 23 years, was detained in Toluca on charges that she embezzled 2 billion pesos (about $160 million US) from union funds.
Gordillo, a colorful woman long seen as a kingmaker and power-behind-the-scenes in Mexican politics, was flown to the Attorney General's hangar in the Mexico City airport, where she asked to be checked by a doctor, Murillo told Milenio television.
Murillo said that Gordillo, 68, was in good health and awaiting transfer to appear before a judge. Two other people were also arrested but they were not named.
The investigation started in December after Santander Bank alerted authorities to bank transfers in billions of pesos, according to the attorney general.
"We are looking at a case in which the funds of education workers have been illegally misused, for the benefit of several people, among them Elba Esther Gordillo," Murillo said earlier at the news conference announcing her arrest.
Calls to the union's office seeking comment were not answered and Gordillo did not make a public statement.
It marks the downfall of a woman who rose from school teacher to become one of Mexico's most powerful political operators, displaying her opulence openly with designer clothes and bags, bodyguards, expensive cars and properties including a penthouse apartment in Mexico City's exclusive Polanco neighborhood. She has been widely lampooned for her many plastic surgeries and depicted in political cartoons as ghoulish.
Meanwhile, Mexico's teachers are poorly paid and public education has long been considered sub-par.

'Systematic embezzlement,' prosecutors say

Prosecutors said they had detected nearly $3 million US in purchases at Neiman Marcus using union funds, as well as $17,000 in U.S. plastic surgery bills and the purchase of a million-dollar home in San Diego.
Assistant Attorney General Alfredo Castillo displayed a series of charts at the press conference with arrows detailing the allegations of illicit transfers from teachers' union accounts to personal accounts in the names of three union workers, Nora Guadalupe Ugarte Ramirez, Isaias Gallardo Chavez and Jose Manuel Diaz Flores, as well as a real estate company.
None were authorized to deal with finances. It wasn't clear if they were among those arrested.
"Between 2008 and 2012, there was systematic embezzlement of union accounts," Murillo Karam said.
Some funds eventually ended up in bank accounts in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Castillo said that in one case they transferred $1 million to a Swiss account for a company owned by Gordillo's mother. Those funds were then used to buy a million-dollar house in the island of Coronado in San Diego.

Sweeping education reform

Her detention came a day after President Enrique Pena Nieto signed Mexico's most sweeping education reform in seven decades into law, seeking to change a system dominated by Gordillo in which teaching positions could be sold or inherited.
The overhaul was Pena Nieto's first major proposal since taking office Dec. 1 and was considered a political blow to Gordillo.
Gordillo had organized a string of protests by teachers against the reform, which moves much of the control of the education system to the federal government from the teachers' union. She was elected to another six-year term as union leader in October.
The reform creates a system of uniform standards for teacher hiring and promotion based on merit instead of union connections. It also allows for the first census of Mexico's education system, which Gordillo's union has largely controlled for decades, allegedly padding the payroll with thousands of phantom teachers.
So great is the union's control that no one knows exactly how many schools, teachers or students exist in Mexico.
For years, she has beaten back attacks from union dissidents, political foes and journalists who have seen her as a symbol of Mexico's corrupt, old-style politics. Rivals have accused her of corruption, misuse of union funds and even a murder, but prosecutors who investigated never brought a charge against her.
She was expelled from Pena Nieto's Institutional Revolutionary Party in 2006 for supporting other parties' candidates and the formation of her own New Alliance party.
Gordillo's arrest recalled the 1989 arrest of another once-feared union boss, Joaquin Hernandez Galicia, known as "La Quina." The longtime head of Mexico's powerful oil workers union, Hernandez Galicia was arrested during the first months of the new administration of then-President Carlos Salinas.
In 1988, he criticized Salinas' presidential candidacy and threatened an oil workers' strike if Salinas privatized any part of the government oil monopoly, Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex. On Jan. 10, 1989, — about a month after Salinas took office — soldiers used a bazooka to blow down the door of Hernandez' home in the Gulf Coast city of Ciudad Madero.
Like Gordillo, Hernandez Galicia's power was believed to represent a challenge to the president, and his arrest was interpreted as an assertion of the president's authority. He was freed from prison after Salinas left office.
Murillo denied that Gordillo's arrest was politically motivated and said it could not be compared to Hernandez's case.
"This was a very clear investigation and we will have more of them," he said.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Former church director guilty of embezzlement in Virginia

A woman who embezzled $29,000 from Bethel Presbyterian Church pleaded guilty today in Augusta County Circuit Court to five counts of embezzlement.

Denise Y. Thornton, 45, is the former assistant director of the church’s preschool program and later became the treasurer of the preschool program.

Thornton’s husband, Rev. Joel Thornton, was with the church for about eight years before resigning in January 2012. There is no indication that he had knowledge of his wife’s alleged scheme, according to authorities or court records.

In a plea deal, Denise Thornton was given 10 years in prison with all but 30 days suspended. She will serve her 30 days behind bars in a series of weekend stints at the Middle River Regional Jail in Verona.

In the plea deal, nine counts of embezzlement were not prosecuted

Monday, February 25, 2013

Former Gesu official gets 2 years in prison for embezzling money from parish to feed gambling habit in Toledo, Ohio.

Saying she didn’t ever want to return to that “deep, dark place” she was at when she stole more than $500,000 from Gesu Roman Catholic Parish, the parish’s former business manager apologized Friday in U.S. District Court for embezzling the money to feed a gambling habit.
“I’m very grateful for the FBI, and the bank, and Gesu because I honestly feel they saved my life,” a tearful Patricia Ann Stanz told the court. “... I was defenseless, and I wanted to get caught. I immediately admitted my wrongdoings that day, and the relief that I felt was totally indescribable.”
Calling the case “an aggravated abuse of trust,” Judge James Carr sentenced Stanz, 61, to two years in federal prison and ordered her to repay $505,777 that she stole from the West Toledo parish. He also ordered her to perform 100 hours of community service when she is released from prison.
She had pleaded guilty in September to one count each of counterfeit securities and fraudulent use of access device.
While Andy Hart, attorney for Stanz, said he did not believe prison was the appropriate place for Stanz given her lack of criminal history and the unlikelihood she would reoffend, the judge said repeatedly that a prison sentence was necessary to deter the public from repeating her crime.
“I think a severe sentence in this circumstance is important, and I do think that it will enhance respect for the law,” Judge Carr said.
He said with the nearby convenience of the Hollywood Casino just off I-75 in East Toledo, he wants people to know they will go to prison if they decide to do what Stanz did.
“If somebody tonight walks into the doors of that casino down the road with somebody else’s money and happens to hear about the very sentence I impose and decides to turn around and stop or seek help, I think that this will have served a very useful purpose,” Judge Carr said.
The Rev. James Auth, retired pastor of Regina Coeli parish, spoke on Stanz’s behalf before the sentence was imposed.
He told the court he has done “addictive work and counseling” for many years and has seen Stanz transformed since she got involved with Gamblers Anonymous a year ago.
“She’s done everything right. She’s a better person,” Father Auth said. “I believe she’s in a recovery that will last.”
Thomas Karol, an assistant U.S. attorney, told the court the severity of the crime demanded prison time.
“This was not a minor embezzlement,” he said. “This occurred over four years, approximately $500,000, and repeated instances of it.”
Prosecutors said Stanz used the parish’s signature stamp to cash some 97 checks totaling $295,000 from the parish’s checking account between June, 2008, and February, 2011. She also used a Gesu credit card for purchases and cash advances totaling more than $230,000 from September, 2008, to August, 2011.
The restitution ordered includes $471,659 that was reimbursed by the diocese’s insurance carrier and $34,118 for which Gesu was not reimbursed.
The Rev. Marty Lukas, current pastor at Gesu, was not at the parish when Stanz was indicted and did not attend the hearing.
"I just think that it's nice that it's brought to a close now," he said when contacted afterward. "We can move ahead."

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Man stole $50K from youth football league in Florida

A man embezzled nearly $50,000 from the Miami-Dade Xtreme Youth Football League, police say.
Guillermo Chacon turned himself in to Miami-Dade police on Tuesday. He was charged with second-degree grand theft, eight counts of uttering forged instruments, and organized fraud.
According to an arrest affidavit, from August 2011 through December 2012, Chacon embezzled $49,993 from the league by making cash withdrawals from the league's JPMorgan Chase bank account.
Each month, Chacon provided the league's executive board with fraudulent bank account statements, police say.
In November 2012, Chacon showed the board an account balance of $61,893.18, according to an arrest affidavit. JPMorgan Chase showed an account balance of $9,489.81 during the same time.
According to police, each monthly bank statement has a bar code that changes from month to month. Chacon used the same bar code on each bank statement he provided to the executive board.
Chacon served as treasurer, according to the league.
Rich Raphael, the president of the Miami-Dade Xtreme Youth Football League, wrote a letter to park commissioners, saying in part: "A theft report was immediately filed, and all accounts associated with Mr. Chacon were closed and new accounts have been opened. Furthermore, Mr. Chacon has been suspended from his duties as treasurer subject to a formal removal hearing, and I have appointed Mr. Jesus Palacios as the interim treasurer pending further investigation."
The executive vice president of the Miami-Dade Xtreme Youth Football League reacted to allegations that its treasurer embezzled nearly $50,000 in league funds.
Guillermo "Willie" Chacon turned himself in to Miami-Dade police on Tuesday. He was charged with second-degree grand theft, eight counts of uttering forged instruments, and organized fraud.
"I'm outraged like anyone else because at the end of the day, there's so many ideas that we wanted to incorporate this year for the kids and obviously now we're back to square one," said Damien Sosa, executive vice president of the Miami-Dade Xtreme Youth Football League. "There's lines that are crossed that you can never get back, so to me, this is one of them, the trust issue."
According to an arrest affidavit, from August 2011 through December 2012, Chacon embezzled $49,993 from the league by making cash withdrawals from the league's JPMorgan Chase bank account.
Each month, Chacon provided the league's executive board with fraudulent bank account statements, police say.
Eddy Arza and Chacon played or coached against each other for nearly 40 years. They remained friends the entire time.
"I don't know what drove Willie to do this because Willie has dedicated his whole life to kids," said Arza. "I was shocked. I couldn't believe it."
Arza said he remember giving money to Chacon for the league.
"To have that personal interaction and giving him money and to hear in your (John Turchin's) report yesterday that apparently some of that money came from those two weekends," said Arza, "everybody knows how the economy is and they gave their hard-earned money to watch their kids play thinking that that money was going to pay for the event and other things that the Xtreme League does a good job doing, and to hear this, that's when it was a personal blow."
Arza said he hopes that if the charges are true, Chacon admits to his wrongdoing.
"It would be great for Willie's healing, for his family, for him to say, 'Here it is. I'm giving it back.' If I take your wallet, your cash, at least I'm giving it back. You'll still be mad at me but at least I give it back to you," said Arza. "If there's any way -- if the money's sitting anywhere and he can find a way in his heart to say 'here it is back,' at least that could start the healing process."
"The biggest issue here is who can you trust, especially with finances now, and with the kids? What can you do?" said Sosa. "Everybody from parents in the league to commissioners to everybody is now on their tippy toes about wow, you know, if this happened, what can we expect in the future."
Sosa said Chacon was appointed treasurer because of past problems with the league's accounting practices.
"Everybody has awakened and everybody is getting more involved and in order to prevent this is people being more proactive than reactive," added Sosa.
Rich Raphael, the president of the Miami-Dade Xtreme Youth Football League, wrote a letter to park commissioners, saying in part: "A theft report was immediately filed, and all accounts associated with Mr. Chacon were closed and new accounts have been opened. Furthermore, Mr. Chacon has been suspended from his duties as treasurer subject to a formal removal hearing, and I have appointed Mr. Jesus Palacios as the interim treasurer pending further investigation."

Friday, February 22, 2013

Roxie woman sentenced for embezzlement in Mississippi

A 52-year-old Roxie woman has been sentenced to three years in prison for embezzling money while she was employed by the Franklin County School District and the Town of Roxie.

The Natchez Democrat reports Circuit Court Judge Forrest "Al" Johnson sentenced Ramona Mullins Tuesday to serve nine years, with six years suspended, followed by three years of post-release supervision for two counts of embezzlement by a public employee.
Johnson also ordered Mullins to pay over $77,000 in restitution to the Franklin County School District, near $17,000 to the Town of Roxie and over $16,000 to the Mississippi State Auditor's office.
Mullins entered an open plea of guilty, meaning she refused to accept the recommendation of the state and instead threw herself at the mercy of the court.

Ex Vermont College President James Beckwith Commits Suicide Embezzlement School Funds

Police say the former acting president of Southern Vermont College took his own life after being charged with embezzlement from the school. James Beckwith, 58, was found dead in his Londonderry home Wednesday, of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Beckwith was recently accused of stealing money from the school. Prosecutors say he embezzled $440,000 from October to January. He allegedly convinced college officials to issue three checks to settle legal claims from a failed dorm project. Prosecutors say he used more than half the money to pay down two mortgages on his Londonderry home.
Beckwith resigned from the school Feb. 3 after he was questioned about the matter.
Federal prosecutors started forfeiture proceedings against Beckwith Wednesday, and Vermont state police say Wednesday evening, Beckwith was found dead in an apparent suicide.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Former Santa Rosa Junior College police officer accused in embezzlement admits responsibility in California

A former Santa Rosa Junior College police officer accused of stealing nearly $300,000 from campus parking meters has admitted responsibility for the thefts but disagrees with prosecutors over the amount stolen, his attorney said Wednesday.
Jeffrey Holzworth, 51, of Santa Rosa, also denied any involvement from his wife, Karen Holzworth, 49, who is accused of being an accessory for allegedly exchanging the currency at banks.
"Mr. Holzworth has accepted responsibility at the earliest stage possible," his attorney, Joe Passalacqua, said Wednesday after a brief courtroom appearance by the couple. "The question is the amount of money taken. We need further discovery to find the amount."
He added: "He's adamant that his wife had no involvement."
The husband and wife stood away from reporters as Passalacqua talked. Karen Holzworth's attorney, George Bousseau, declined to comment.
Prosecutor Amy Ariyoshi confirmed Jeffrey Holzworth gave statements to police around the time of his arrest that could be construed as an admission. She said there is evidence that his wife played an active role, too.
Ariyoshi said the amount -- $287,000 over an eight-year period -- covers "just what could be proven in court," suggesting Holzworth might have taken more.
The 28-year campus officer was arrested in November after a co-worker reported he appeared to be stealing money from parking machines. Police said Holzworth was seen emptying a machine while he was off-duty before traveling to Las Vegas and had coins and currency in his car.
A search of his Brandee Court house turned up thousands of dollars in coins and paper money, as well as gambling notes and receipts from Las Vegas, according to an affidavit.
Holzworth, whose duties included oversight of the machines, was believed to have spent some of the money on gambling, vacations and living expenses. A portion of it was spent at River Rock Casino in Alexander Valley, Ariyoshi said.
Ariyoshi said she would consult campus leaders before extending any settlement offer.
Passalacqua said Holzworth admitted his role in statements to police investigators. He did not say how much Holzworth believes was stolen or provide further details.
Holzworth faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted on 11 felony counts of receiving stolen property and a count of grand theft, with an enhancement for white collar crime. His wife, who was arrested last month, could get county jail time for her alleged role.
Both are free on bail. Jeffrey Holzworth entered not guilty pleas Wednesday, apparently to give more time for prosecutors to compose a pre-trial settlement offer. Judge Jamie Thistlethwaite ordered both to return March 13.

Former Vermont college president accused of embezzlement

The former chief operating officer of Southern Vermont College has been accused of embezzling $440,000 from the school when he served as acting president.
James Beckwith is accused of taking the money between October 2012 and January, depositing it into his personal account, and using $260,000 to pay down two mortgages secured by his South Londonderry home.
The U.S. Attorney General’s office said Thursday it filed a complaint alleging the home and account are forfeitable as proceeds of mail fraud.
Prosecutors say Beckwith induced college officials to issue three checks, saying they were to settle legal claims arising from a failed dormitory project.
It wasn’t immediately known if Beckwith had a lawyer. He served as acting president at the Bennington college when the president took a one-year leave of absence.

Former PTA president sentenced in West Virginia

The former president of Midland Elementary School's Parent Teacher Association pleaded guilty to misdemeanor embezzlement Wednesday in Randolph County Magistrate Court.

Sarah Jane Butcher, 35, of Elkins, was charged with embezzlement greater than $1,000 Feb. 4 after she allegedly wrote checks totaling more than $2,000 from a Midland Elementary School PTA bank account to pay for items that were not for school use.

On Wednesday, Butcher pleaded guilty to one count of embezzlement of less than $1,000, a misdemeanor, and paid full restitution in the amount of $2,260.69 to the magistrate clerk's office, which will forward the money to the Midland Elementary School PTA. In exchange, assistant Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Lori Gray dropped the felony embezzlement charge.
Butcher, who allegedly spent the money on personal items between Oct. 29, 2012, and Jan. 23, 2013, was sentenced to six months in jail, which was suspended in lieu of one year of supervised probation.

"We are very satisfied with the efforts of the Randolph County Magistrate Court, with the efforts of the Randolph County Sheriff's Department and with the efficiency of both of those agencies," Interim Superintendent of Randolph County Schools Terry George said Wednesday. "We are pleased with the swiftness with which the matter was resolved and very grateful that money will be returned to the PTA's bank account so that it can go about its business of organizing activities and events that will benefit the students of Midland Elementary School."

"They did an outstanding job," George said.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ex-teacher guilty of embezzlement; gambled $1 million at Del. casinos

A former Worcester County teacher has been found guilty on charges of embezzlement of more than $433,000 from the county teacher’s union.

Denise Inez Owens admitted that while serving as the treasurer of the Worcester County Teacher’s Association she used its funds to pay for a gambling problem.

Prosecutors said their investigation showed that during a period of three years, Owens had visited casinos in Delaware on more than 600 occasions, and gambled more than $1 million.

“This has been a long process for me,” Owens said in Worcester County Circuit Court on Tuesday. “To say ‘I’m sorry’ isn’t enough. I was sorry from the moment I stole my first dime. I knew it was wrong. I never denied it, I never tried to hide it.”

Calling her actions “a breach of trust,” Judge Dale Cathell sentenced Owens to two years in the Maryland Department of Corrections and ordered her to repay $211,545 during a three-year probationary period once her jail time ends.

Owens, 58, has repaid about $195,000 of the money she took, according to her attorney, Robert L. Marvel Jr.

He noted for the judge his client’s “unblemished” criminal history, saying she hadn’t as much as a traffic ticket on her record.

She told the judge that the stealing had been hanging over her head for three years, and she felt relieved to have been caught.

“I can’t imagine I did this, but I did. I know why: gambling addiction,” Owens said, adding, “I am at a place where I have nothing.”

The Maryland State Education Association chose not to disclose the embezzlement to authorities when they learned about it in March 2009, according to Worcester County Assistant State’s Attorney Steven Rakow.

“I think the coverup of that theft, and the lies to the teachers, is far worse morally than Denise Owens having a severe gambling problem,” Rakow said. “There was some secret agreement; it was never written down.”

Rakow said after association officials met with Owens, the state union filed a claim with its insurance company that there had been an incident of employee theft.
The insurance company made good on the claim. Owens had her paycheck docked.

Denise Owens, who formerly went by her married name of Denise Tull, had been a teacher for 34 years, her attorney said. She had been with Worcester County schools since 1988, most recently as a special education instructor at Stephen Decatur Middle School, according to a school board spokeswoman.

The association issued a statement in August 2012 upon Owens’ indictment, saying the local dues was not part of mishandled funds, and that the funds in question were owed to the Maryland association and the National Education Association

“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,” the statement read.

The incident was first reported by The Daily Times in February 2012 after a review of publicly available tax returns revealed that WCTA reported a $110,589 loss for fiscal year 2009.

An unsigned note in that tax paperwork attributed the loss to embezzlement by the former treasurer.

Student employee guilty of embezzlement in Oklahoma


An Oklahoma State University student accused of taking OSU football tickets from the ticket office and selling them on Facebook pleaded guilty last Friday.
Former OSU ticket office employee Aquelle Bowen, 19, was charged with a felony count of embezzlement on Nov 9, according to the Oklahoma State Courts Network.
Bowen’s lawyer recommended a two year deferred sentence, 75 hours of community service and a $750 fine, according to the court documents.
On Sept. 30, Bowen sold two invalid tickets to two students for the Iowa State game for $50 each, according to the affidavit.
The student brought the unauthorized tickets to the university ticket office after the student couldn’t get into the game.
After an OSU police officer was told Bowen did not come to work during the Iowa State game, the officer contacted Bowen in her dorm room in Bost Hall. Bowen admitted to the officer that she stole two sets of season student tickets from the ticket office, according to the affidavit. Bowen received a third set of tickets from a friend.
Director of Communications Gary Shutt said that students need to be aware that the only way to officially purchase tickets is through the university ticket office.
In total, Bowen stole eight OSU football tickets and offered to sell them for a combined amount of $514.26, according to court documents.
Embezzlement of an amount over $500 is considered a felony, according to the document.
Bowen’s next court appearance is at 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 10.

Former Grand Rapids church bookkeeper pleads no contest to embezzlement in Michigan

Gerolanita Bailey, the former bookkeeper at Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, today pleaded no contest to an embezzlement charge amid accusations she took about $60,000 from the church.
The plea for Bailey, 50, comes about a month after former pastor Arthur Pearson entered a no contest plea to the same charge.
Pearson was accused of taking more than $230,000 by church officials and spending it on clothes, meals, dental expenses, vacation expenses and other non-church related items.
In court today, Kent County Circuit Court Judge Dennis Leiber said that auditors accused Bailey of improperly taking almost $60,000 for her benefit.
He noted that $1,700 went for dental bills, $3,600 for Consumers Energy, $8,700 to DTE Energy, $6,100 to Comcast, $7,300 to Sprint, $10,000 for a Capital One credit card and about $18,000 taken in written checks to "cash" or herself.
Pearson is to be sentenced April 4.
Bailey, who pleaded no contest to embezzlement of $50,000 to $100,000, will hear her punishment the following week, on April 11.
In a plea agreement, prosecutors are recommending she receive at least five years of probation and are taking no position on any jail time. Judge Leiber will be left to decide any incarceration.
Outside the courthouse today, Bailey said she was glad the case is nearly finished.
"It's been a very unfortunate event," she said. "We don't want any more hurting. I think the fiber of the church has to heal.
"We're just glad we're going to be moving on," she said.
Prosecutors made a similar recommendation in a plea agreement for Pearson.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Gallatin, Tennessee church treasurer charged with theft

A woman who was the acting treasurer of a small Gallatin church has been accused of stealing about $160,000 from the congregation.
Crystal Dycus, 30, of Gallatin is charged with theft of property over $60,000 and money laundering, according to Maj. Don Linzy of the Sumner County Sheriff’s Department.
The money allegedly stolen included about $30,000 in cash and and the rest CDs from Douglass Chapel United Methodist Church, according to Sumner County Sheriff Sonny Weatherford.
The church has a typical Sunday attendance of around 30. There hasn’t been any discussion of closing the church, but “the loss of that kind of money causes us to pay closer to our finances and bills,’’ Pastor Ron Wright said.
Dycus was not paid by the church, Wright said.
She has been released from the Sumner County Jail on a $7,500 bond. A court date is scheduled for this Friday.

Greenville school PTO treasurer charged with embezzlement, forgery in Michigan

A Greenville Public Schools elementary parent teacher organization board member is being accused of diverting thousands of the nonprofit group’s dollars towards her personal use last year.
Laura Suzanne Outen, 34, of Greenville, was formally charged with single counts of embezzlement and forgery after turning herself into authorities on Friday, Feb. 15, according to Greenville Public Safety Director Michael Pousak.
She posted a $500 cash bond and will be formally arraigned on March 1, said Montcalm County Sheriff’s officials. The single count of uttering and publishing is a 14-year felonyand the single count of embezzlement is a 10-year felony.
Pousak said members of the Walnut Hills Elementary School PTO board came to Greenville Police on Jan. 11 to make a formal complaint against Outen, who is treasurer of the group.
Pousak said the police investigation found enough evidence to warrant charges by the Montcalm County Prosecutor’s Office. He said the PTO is missing between $12,000 and $18,000.
Pousak said the alleged embezzlement occurred between January and June of 2012 and it appears that Outen used the funds for undisclosed personal expenses.
The group is holding a fundraiser is from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Feb. 28 at the Big Boy on Washington Street in Greenville to help offset some of the embezzlement losses.
“This fundraiser will greatly help the PTO recovering from our recent financial setback,” PTO President Christian Sowers told the Greenville Daily News. Sowers did not immediately return messages left by MLive.
PTOs are nonprofit organizations not directly affiliated with schools, but which raise money for things like playground equipment, library collections and special events.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Chesapeake band club treasurer accused of embezzling in Virginia

The treasurer of Oscar Smith High School's band booster club has been charged with embezzling.
Kimberly Compitello, 41, has been charged with three counts of embezzlement and one count of forgery, according to online General District Court records. The embezzlement charges stem from July 1, 2011 and 2012 and Jan. 1, 2012, court records show. The forgery charge stems from Oct. 16, 2012.
Officer Kelly O'Sullivan, a spokeswoman, said Compitello was arrested Jan. 31, but was released on bond. O'Sullivan said Compitello's son is in the band, and she was accused of embezzling from the club since 2011. O'Sullivan said she did not know the amount.
The Oscar Smith Band Boosters Club is listed as a nonprofit, and according to financial statements, Compitello was listed as the vice president in tax filings for the first half of 2011, the most recent available. The organization earned $63,704 that year, the records show.
Compitello became treasurer of the organization July 1, 2011, according to a former member.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Information on the embezzlement of ELCA synod funds in Minnesota

Minneapolis Area Synod
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
122 W Franklin Ave, Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55404 612-870-3610
Information on the embezzlement of synod funds

On February 14, former synod staff member Raenay Rock Hendrickson confessed to
embezzling from synod funds. It appears she took approximately $100,000. This occurred
from 2005 until June 2012, and was discovered during an audit of the synod’s finances,
part of strengthened financial procedures initiated when Bishop Ann Svennungsen began
her term last May. Ms. Hendrickson left the synod’s employ in July, 2012.
The synod has filed a claim  with its insurance carriers and anticipates being fully
reimbursed for the losses. This matter has been reported to law enforcement; the synod
staff is cooperating with them as they investigate. With the help of legal counsel, the synod
is pursuing every avenue of recourse that is available, trusting that God works through the
protective structures of society – including law enforcement and the courts. As the
investigation continues, as much information as the legal process allows will be
The staff is working diligently to recover the embezzled funds, to discern how they affected
synod ministries, and to continually improve financial oversight –  so when people make
gifts to the church, they can do so with confidence that the synod office is a trustworthy
and responsible steward of their generosity.
Please pray for all affected by this situation, including Ms. Hendrickson and her family.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Former Sycamore Stingrays President Charged With Embezzlement in California

A former Danville swim team president was charged Friday with embezzlement and has been accused of taking more than $225,000 in team funds for personal use, the Contra Costa Times reports.
After a three year investigation, Mark Eugene Thornton, 51, pleaded not guilty to eight felony counts of grand theft by embezzlement. Thornton was the board president of the Sycamore Stingrays Swim Team, a 230-member Danville swim club, from November 2006 until he termed out in late 2009.
Also on Friday, the Stingrays filed a civil suit against Thornton, that alleges a breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and conversion.
Thornton's attorney, Dirk Manoukian, says his client is innocent and always acted in the best interest of the swim club.
The Stingrays attorney in the civil suit, Debra Bogaards, told the Times:
For the membership, it's very important to them to see Mr. Thornton brought to justice. Many of the families felt a huge sense of betrayal of their trust...Not only was Mr. Thornton the president of the swim club, some of his children were on the team, as a person, he was well-liked, and he was put in a position with a lot of authority over swim club funds.
Thornton was released on his own recognizance and returns to court March 15 for the setting of the date for a preliminary hearing.

School’s Business Manager Accused Of Embezzlement in New York

The business manager of the Eldred Central School District faces up to seven years in prison after being arrested for stealing over $20,000 of school district funds.
William Thornton, 49, of Monticello, has been charged with two counts of third degree grand larceny and one count of first degree falsifying business records, both felonies.
On Nov. 17, 2012, it was reported to State Police that $20,000 had been stolen from a school district account.   An investigation into the theft revealed that Thornton, the district’s business manager, had stolen the funds by electronically transferring the money out of the school district’s account on two separate occasions, police said.
Thornton was arraigned in the Town of Highland Court and released upon posting $20,000 bond.  

Pastor-run Covenant Bank fails in Chicago

Covenant Bank, the small West Side lender run by mega-church pastor Bill Winston, was closed late Friday by bank regulators, wiping out the investments of more than 3,000 members of Rev. Winston's Forest Park church.

Liberty Bank & Trust Co., an African-American-owned bank in New Orleans, assumed $58 million in Covenant Bank assets and $54 million in deposits, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. announced.

The failure brings to a bad end the $3 million acquisition more than four years ago of the former Community Bank of Lawndale by the group led by Rev. Winston, with much of the cash supplied by members of his 20,000-member congregation, Living Word Christian Center.

Rev. Winston long had sought a bank to help put to the test his stated belief that godly pursuits lead to financial success. He hoped ownership of the lender would help revitalize neighborhoods like Lawndale on the West Side, where the bank was based.

But the bank embarked on a lending spree as the financial crisis and resulting recession hit. Its loans quickly soured, depleting capital levels. An effort to find investors to rescue the bank proved unsuccessful.

The FDIC estimated Covenant's failure would cost its insurance fund $21.8 million. Covenant is the 42nd Chicago-area bank to fail since the beginning of 2009.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Woman charged in athletic league embezzlement in Virginia

A woman is accused of embezzling more than $200 from an athletic association in Hampton.
Sgt. Jason Price with the Hampton Police Division told officers arrested Matretta Bush, 30, of Newport News on Feb. 7.

Bush is accused of embezzling money from the Northampton Athletic Association in Hampton between November of 2010 and November of 2011. The case was reported to Hampton Police in December of 2011.

Bush is charged with felony embezzlement for more than $200.

Treasurer of Cloverleaf Youth Athletic Club Charged with Embezzlement in North Carolina

39-year-old Susan G. Williams of Troutman was arrested by Iredell Co. Sheriff’s Officers Sunday (February 10) on a charge of felony embezzlement.

Events leading to her arrest began on January 18 when John Jordan, the President of the Cloverleaf Youth Athletic Association, told Sheriff’s Detectives that a total of $9,102 that had been withdrawn from the organization’s account through several ATM transactions. He said the money was withdrawn by the Treasurer, Susan Williams, who did have access to the account and was responsible for purchasing items for the organization. The transactions occurred between May 2012 and January 2013 while Williams acted as Treasurer.

Upon further investigation, after obtaining a written statement from Williams, it was found that she did, in fact, withdraw the money for her own personal use.

After her arrest, Williams was given a $3,000 unsecured bond. An appearance in District Court was set for March 11.   

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Woman accused of misusing $160K from Boone, North Carolina church

Authorities say a Boone woman has been charged on two separate occasions with embezzling from a church where she was formerly employed.
According to the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, 44-year-old Treva J. Jones is accused of stealing a total of about $166,000 from the Deerfield United Methodist Church.
Deputies say they first incident was reported on Nov. 21, 2011. The report alleged an employee had misappropriated about $118,000 in church funds over a period of about three years.
Jones was arrested on Dec. 22, 2011 following an investigation by the sheriff’s office. Deputies said she was charged with a single count of felony embezzlement and jailed under a $25,000 secured bond.
The initial case is still pending in Watauga County Superior Court, deputies said.
On Jan. 3, 2013, deputies say they received a report that an additional $48,000 in church funds had been misused.
Another investigation began and Jones was arrested for a second time as a result. She was charged on Monday with six counts of felony obtaining property by false pretense, six counts of felony forgery and six counts of felony uttering a forged instrument.
The suspect received a $25,000 secured bond. She has another court date slated for March 26.
No other details were provided.

Grand jury waived in Tulsa Public Schools embezzlement case

Former Tulsa Public Schools Athletic Director Stephanie Spring has waived her right to have the embezzlement case against her presented to a federal grand jury, a waiver that normally precedes a guilty plea.

An assistant U.S. attorney filed the charge against Spring in Tulsa federal court Jan. 31.

The charge alleges that, at some point in 2011, Spring took an unspecified amount of money exceeding $5,000 for the rental of school facilities that should have been deposited into the school district's general fund. Instead, the charge alleges, Spring deposited the money into her personal account.

On Tuesday, Spring signed a form waiving her right to have the case presented to a federal grand jury, which could have opted to indict her.

Although Spring's attorney, Allen Smallwood, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Vicki Zemp Behenna did not comment Tuesday about whether Spring is planning to plead guilty, federal cases charged through this method customarily result in guilty pleas and not trials.

Spring entered a not-guilty plea during her arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Paul Cleary on Tuesday. Federal magistrates are not permitted to take guilty pleas in felony cases unless the defendant signs a special form waiving the right to have such a plea hearing before a district judge.

Smallwood said he would expect Spring's initial hearing before U.S. District Judge John Dowdell to take place in late March or early April.

The prosecution did not ask that Spring be held in custody while the case is pending, and she will await further developments while free on bond.

Spring did not comment after Tuesday's brief hearing. Janice Jones, a Tulsa Public Schools spokeswoman, said the district has been asked by the prosecution not to comment.

Last March, it was revealed that the FBI and federal prosecutors had become involved in the investigation into possible embezzlement and misappropriation of funds in the Tulsa Public Schools Athletic Department.

Spring was suspended in November 2011 after campus police filed a report in July 2011, stating that Spring and two assistant athletic directors had accessed the personal emails of Spring's secretary. She later resigned.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Former Greek Life director Paolo charged with embezzlement at Rhode Island sorority chapter.

Months after ending her brief tenure at Tufts last winter, former Director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Tanya McGinn Paolo was charged in October with embezzling over $160,000 from the University of Rhode Island’s (URI) Alpha Phi sorority chapter.

Rhode Island State Police arrested Paolo in Rhode Island on Oct. 17, and earlier this month, Paolo attended a pre-trial conference at the Washington County Superior Court, according to Rhode Island Judiciary records. The records state that the case appears to be pending further investigation.

Paolo assumed her position as the head of Greek life on the Hill in the summer of 2010, and Dean of Student Affairs Bruce Reitman confirmed her abrupt departure a few months later in Feb. 2011. Paolo’s exit from Tufts had no connection with the charges brought against her this fall, Reitman said. Complaints regarding her embezzlement were first brought to Rhode Island State Police in March 2011.

“Tanya left Tufts before this incident, and it had nothing to do with Tufts,” Reitman told the Daily in an email. Reitman didn’t elaborate on the reason for her departure out of concern for her privacy.

Former Coordinator of Orientation and Administration in the Undergraduate Orientation Office Jamie Engle served as interim director after Paolo’s departure until the university hired current Director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Su McGlone to replace Paolo in July 2011.

Paolo joined Tufts as the director of Greek life in September 2010 after the position was vacant for a year, during which Reitman served as interim director. The previous director, Patrick Romero-Aldaz, left Tufts to become the director of fraternity and sorority life at the University of South Florida in June 2009.

Paolo’s exit added another disruption to a period of a lack of stable leadership in the Tufts Greek community, according to Eric Swanson (A’12), who served as Inter-Greek Council (IGC) President when Paolo departed.

“When she left, it was a bit frustrating because we had made strides in the past four months,” he said. “One day she was there, and the next she was no longer acting in the position.”

Swanson was surprised about the circumstances surrounding Paolo’s arrest.

“I was shocked to hear [about Paolo’s arrest],” he said. “She was very professional.”

Paolo allegedly embezzled while serving as corporation board president of URI’s Iota Delta chapter of Alpha Phi from 2003 to 2009, according to a Narragansett Patch article. Her position was voluntary, Alpha Phi Executive Director Linda Kahangi said in a statement to WPRI-TV, a local Rhode Island television station.

“Alpha Phi is disappointed to acknowledge the arrest of Tanya McGinn Paolo, a former volunteer, suspected of embezzling funds from Alpha Phi’s local housing corporation at the University of Rhode Island,” Kahangi told WPRI-TV station.

“Because Ms. Paolo’s actions are contrary to Alpha Phi’s policies and values, her membership with the organization has been terminated.”

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.

Former Clover Hill Sports Association leader charged with embezzlement in Virginia

A former board member of the Clover Hill Sports Association has been charged with embezzling more than $10,000 from the organization over 15 months.
Shirley J. Bishop, 33, of the 17000 block of Hull Street Road, was arrested last Wednesday on a single count of embezzlement. She is accused of taking association funds from August 2011 through December 2012, according to Chesterfield County police.
The police investigation began in January, authorities said.
In an open letter to members posted on the association’s website, president Anthony Squyars said the board of directors conducted an internal investigation involving the misappropriation of funds. That resulted in the removal of Bishop from the board and a report filed with police.
Squyars said the association is financially healthy and in good standing with all of its members, vendors and leagues. The board, he added, has accounted for all members’ fees and uniform expenses paid to the association.
“The current legal proceedings will not inhibit our ability to move forward with the 2013 sports season,” Squyars wrote.
Bishop is scheduled to appear Tuesday in Chesterfield General District Court.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Booster club employee charged with embezzlement for second time in North Carolina

A local booster club treasurer is charged with embezzlement for the second time in six months.

Regina Wyatt will be in court on the new charges Friday.

She works with the Drexel Community Center Athletic Boosters Club in Morganton.

State investigators told the Morganton News Herald she refused to give them the organization’s financial records.

She is required to do that, since the club is considered a charity.

Two weeks ago, Burke County dismissed the original embezzlement charges that Wyatt was arrested for last August.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

California School Districts Misspent Millions: Ordered To Repay

A California State Senate report has uncovered the misappropriation of millions originally intended for subsidized cafeteria meals. The California Department of Education has ordered several school districts to repay about $170 million misspent, resulting from an investigation by the Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes triggered by whistleblowers.

State officials found and ordered remittance of $158 million misused in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Repayments ranging from $369,000 to $5.6 million have been ordered for the remaining districts guilty of misappropriation, though some are challenging the accusations.

These figures may only represent a small percentage of inappropriate spending, as the state does not have the resources to properly monitor over 3,000 school districts with cafeteria funds. The money was supposed to be used for programs offering free or reduced breakfasts and lunches to students from low-income households.
It was disclosed that the majority of disadvantaged school districts used the funds to pay for other expenses, covering salary gaps and equipment costs. However, inappropriately diverting cafeteria funds have brought about cost-cutting repercussions. The result: serving students more processed foods in lieu of fresh produce.
On average, the California school districts provide 2.4 million free and reduced-price meals every day. The US Department of Agriculture provides more than $2 billion a year in meal subsidies to California. The state itself allocates an additional $145 million specifically for meal plans.
Chief Deputy Superintendent Richard Zeiger reports the Department of Education has plans to hire monitors to review district meal plan programs.
“Our goal is to be sure every dollar set aside to feed California’s children is spent for that purpose, and that purpose alone. From my point of view, they are literally taking food out of the mouths of kids.”

Friday, February 8, 2013

County pastor cleared in embezzlement probe returns from leave, gives Mass in Maine on February 7, 2013

Three months after the Maineattorney general cleared him of any wrongdoing, the pastor of St. John Vianney Parish was back saying his first Mass in 10 months Thursday night at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Soldier Pond.
The Rev. James Nadeau took a voluntary leave of absence last April amid allegations of parish fund embezzlement.
At the same time, Bishop Richard J. Malone, apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Portland, announced internal and independent financial audits of the parish did reveal a number of compliance problems, both with diocesan policies and generally accepted accounting practices.
“I am very happy to be back,” Nadeau said Thursday afternoon. “The people here have been great and I am so thankful for their support.”
More than 100 parishioners packed into the Soldier Pond church Thursday night to greet Nadeau, who touched briefly on his absence during the Mass.
“For the past 310 days there have been many times I have had doubts, or been tempted or too mad to say Mass,” Nadeau said in his homily. “When I was feeling all those things, the devil was getting to me but then I would say Mass and even though I was alone, all those thoughts just flew away.”
Over the last three months, Nadeau has been meeting with diocesan representatives on the details of his return.
“It was a matter of Father Nadeau and the bishop and the diocese representatives working out some issues and discussing the issues that came out of the audit,” David Guthro, diocese director of communications, said Thursday afternoon. “All the issues and solutions have been accepted and everyone wants to work together for the good of the parish.”
Office procedures and policy errors have been addressed to help the parish run more efficiently, said Luis Sanclemente, parish council president.
A new bookkeeper had been hired to fill a vacant position and parish administrator Dennis Bouchard will work closely with Nadeau on the day-to-day operations, Sanclemente said,
“We feel this will make the parish much, much stronger,” he said. “Primarily we are so happy to have our shepherd back — he was missed.”
In Nadeau’s absence, temporary priests were assigned to the parish. Sanclemente said they did an outstanding job over the past 10 months.
Before ending the Mass on Thursday night, Nadeau thanked his parishioners for their prayers and support.
“It feels very warm for me that you came tonight,” he said to a round of sustained applause. “I would always tell people the hardest part about the last 310 days was being away from all of you.”
Nadeau greeted each parishioner individually as they filed out of the church after the Mass, accepting handshakes, hugs and well wishes.
“It is awesome to see him back,” Jay Charette of Fort Kent said.
His wife, Lisa Charette, agreed, adding, “We came to Mass here tonight because he needs to know we love him.”
Karen Ouellette also came from neighboring Fort Kent to hear Nadeau’s first Mass now that he is back.
“It’s been a long 310 days,” Ouellette said. “But now our shepherd is back and his flock is very happy.”
Nadeau said he will harbor no ill will about the last 10 months, preferring to look ahead to meeting the spiritual needs of the area while keeping in mind a quote from a former United States president.
“In his second inaugural address, [Abraham] Lincoln had a quote, ‘malice toward none and charity for all,’” Nadeau said. “That is the mantra I want to work on.”

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

PTA leader arrested for embezzlement in West Virginia on February 4, 2013

The former president of Midland Elementary School's Parent Teacher Association was arrested for embezzlement Monday.

Sarah Jane Butcher, 35, of Elkins, was charged with embezzlement greater than $1,000 after she allegedly wrote checks totaling more than $2,000 from a Midland Elementary School PTA bank account to pay for items that were not for school use.

Butcher is accused of spending $2,260.69 on personal items between Oct. 29, 2012, and Jan. 23, 2013, according to the criminal complaint filed in the Randolph County Magistrate Clerk's Office.

The complaint states Randolph County Superintendent of Schools Terry George contacted the Randolph County Sheriff's Office Jan. 23 to report a crime involving finances. Deputy D.L. VanMeter with the RCSO subsequently met with George, Midland Elementary Principal Melinda Akers and Brad Smith, financial director for the Randolph County Board of Education, at the Randolph County board office.

At the meeting, Akers told VanMeter that she had "on several occasions" asked Butcher, the PTA president, to submit financial records from the PTA's bank account with Mountain Valley Bank, according to the complaint. Akers said that on Jan. 23, Butcher and another individual delivered the PTA checkbook and several receipts to Akers in the principal's office.

Butcher informed Akers that there had been "misappropriation of funds" while the bank account was under her control and simultaneously delivered a letter of resignation from her post to the principal.

When VanMeter met with Butcher on Jan. 29, Butcher told him that she had taken over as president of Midland Elementary's PTA at the beginning of the current 2012-2013 school year. Butcher also allegedly admitted to spending an estimated $2,024.62 on "non-PTA" supplies, the complaint states.

Butcher said she had written checks out of the PTA bank account to pay for food, clothes and electronics for her family.

"When asked why she used the funds from the account for personal use, (Butcher) advised that her husband was disabled and that it was hard times," VanMeter wrote. According to a list of checks provided in criminal complaint, the former PTA president allegedly wrote a series of checks to herself, Walmart and Big Lots from Oct. 29, 2012 through Jan. 8, 2013 that totaled $2,260.69.

Butcher told VanMeter that she took "full responsibility" for her actions and also said she planned on paying the money back with her tax refund.

When contacted for comment Monday, George said he was not authorized to discuss the specifics of the case due to the ongoing investigation.

"I would love to discuss it once it gets dealt with," the superintendent of schools said, "but I've been asked not to discuss it for the time being."

"I can tell you that individual no longer has any association with Randolph County Schools or any of Randolph County Schools' Parent Teacher Associations," George said.

Randolph County Magistrate George M. Riggleman set bond at $10,000 cash or surety; Butcher made bond Monday.

The penalty for a conviction of embezzlement greater than $1,000 is imprisonment for one to 10 years in the state penitentiary

Ex-treasurer admits embezzlement from Institute VFD, WVSU alumni group in West Virginia on 2/4/2013

A woman who served as treasurer to both the Institute Volunteer Fire Department and a West Virginia State University alumni group admitted Monday to siphoning nearly $60,000 from the two organizations to pay for a mail-in service that turned out to be a scam.
Ethel Andrews, 74, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of embezzlement Monday before Kanawha Circuit Judge Carrie Webster.
"I used these funds to pay for an award offered by scammers," Andrews said. "I used it in this scam to pay the fees for these awards."
Andrews said that she wrote and cashed checks to herself, drawing about $25,000 from the fire department's account from 2009 to 2010. She said she used the money to pay fees for an "award" offered by what she thought were foreign companies.
The scammers told her that in exchange for the fee, they would transfer a much larger sum into her bank account in Charleston.
Andrews also served as the treasurer of the Kanawha chapter of the West Virginia State University Alumni Association. She said she drew $33,000 from the group from 2008 to 2010 to pay for the same scam. She said the companies involved in the scam were named "Global International" and "Worldwide International."
Webster suggested that prosecutors should refer the scam to the state Attorney General's office.
Andrews asked Webster on Monday if the judge could drop the charges if she came up with the money. Webster said that restitution will be determined during the pre-sentence investigation, but explained that any plea agreement would not be reversible, barring extraordinary circumstances.
Andrews' lawyer, John Sullivan, told the judge that Andrews is not going to be able to pay back the two organizations anytime soon. Andrews said she is on Social Security and confirmed that she wanted to go ahead with the plea.
In October 2011, Kanawha County commissioners ordered an investigation into the Institute VFD after a state audit turned up evidence of fraud. Law enforcement officials confirmed then that they had begun a probe into Andrews' alleged misdeeds.
"It is important to remember that this is an isolated incident and should not reflect upon the hundreds of volunteer fire fighters in Kanawha County," County Commission President Kent Carper said in a press release Monday.
Officials representing the West Virginia State alumni group could not be reached for comment Monday.
Andrews will be sentenced March 21.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Payroll discrepancies led to embezzlement charge at North Carolina college on February 2, 2013

The head of the Montreat College Campus Police says a recent review of the college’s payroll turned up discrepancies that led to an embezzlement charge.
Campus Police on Thursday charged Tracy Anne Pace, 43, of Saluda, with embezzling $270,000 from the college, according to paperwork filed at the Buncombe County Magistrate’s Office.
Authorities allege Pace handled bookkeeping for Montreat and wrote checks payable to her account.
In an email, Scott Adams, director of Campus Police, said his department was notified Thursday by the college’s chief financial officer Geoffrey Bremer that a review of the college’s payroll “during the previous evening appeared to indicate several discrepancies relating to employee Tracy Anne Pace.”
“Based on the discrepancies in payroll records, which appear to possibly date back to 2010, and the statements made by Ms. Pace during an interview, the Campus Police department determined it would be moving forward with embezzlement charges,” Adams said in the email.
The college’s online directory identified Pace as director of payroll and benefits in theHuman Resources department.
Adams said Pace is no longer employed by the college. She was placed under a $130,000 bond and is scheduled for a Feb. 21 court date.
“Currently, additional information is unavailable in order to avoid compromising an ongoing investigation,” Adams said in the email