Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Owasso Parent-Teacher Group Treasurer Charged With Embezzlement

Prosecutors have charged an Owasso mother with embezzlement.

Detectives say 33-year-old Christy Bratton served as treasurer for the Mills Elementary Action Club and stole $4,255.24 from the parent-teacher group.

An audit last month revealed money was missing and detectives turned their case over to Tulsa County prosecutors.

An arrest warrant was issued for Bratton on Wednesday.

Documents say Bratton took the money for her own use and benefit without the consent of Owasso Public Schools or the Mills Action Club.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Kennewick woman's embezzlement trial set for Dec. 1

A Kennewick woman charged with embezzling thousands of dollars from a baseball organization and a school booster club is set for trial Dec. 1.

Sonja D. Stites-Molnaa pleaded innocent Thursday in Benton County Superior Court in the two separate cases.

The 48-year-old mother faces one count each of first- and second-degree theft, both including the aggravating circumstance that it was a major economic offense.

Prosecutors allege Stites-Molnaa was the volunteer treasurer for Kennewick American Legion Baseball when she made $10,428 in unauthorized withdrawals from the organization's main account. The theft reportedly occurred between September 2011 and April 2014.

Additionally, Stites-Molnaa failed to deposit any money from concession sales into a separate account in 2012, court documents said. However, she repeatedly told the board that the balance was $1,000 when it actually was $13.37, documents said.

Some of the missing money went to payments for her Benton PUD utility bill and personal cellphone, along with casinos and retailers in Las Vegas, documents said.

Stites-Molnaa also was president of the Kennewick High School Booster Club when she was given at least $3,774 in cash to deposit but failed to do so, Deputy Prosecutor Kristin McRoberts said.

Stites-Molnaa told other booster club members that the larger deposits of $2,133 and $1,164 were in her safe at home, court documents said.

She claimed she would make arrangements to get those deposits to the club's treasurer but never did, documents said.

During both investigations, Stites-Molnaa reportedly told Kennewick detectives she is not good with handling her finances.

Stites-Molnaa told the court she is employed, but said she supports her two sons. She was appointed attorney Michelle Alexander of Kennewick.

She is out of custody on her personal recognizance and is allowed to travel in the state.

Read more here: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/2014/09/25/3171468/kennewick-womans-embezzlement.html#storylink=cpy

Friday, September 26, 2014

Tulsa Pastor Accused Of Embezzlement Won't Step Down

A Tulsa pastor won't step down, after he's accused of embezzling almost a million dollars.
Willard Jones pleaded not guilty to the charges and he's not bending to pressure from church members to resign.

Reverend Jones may not be stepping down, but according to those inside the meeting, he will be taking a sabbatical from the pulpit. Some members of the church say that's just not enough.

Church member Donald Rose said, "I am separating from this church. I'm gone. I'm done."

There was much outrage after a meeting with church leaders at the Greater Cornerstone Church.

Members said Jones, indicted for stealing almost a million dollars from a community center they supported, walked into the meeting and sat silently as leaders from other area churches made the announcement that Jones would be taking a sabbatical but not stepping down.

"I'm just hurt, I don't know what else to say besides I am, I'm so disappointed, I cannot believe what happened here,” said member Geraldine Freeman.

She has been a member for more than ten years and left the meeting visibly disappointed along with several others who said they're not coming back.

"We're leaving, and we're letting them just do whatever they want to do until this place is probably gonna be bankrupt,” Rose said. "I'm sorry I'm so angry, I'm just disgusted and tired of the shenanigans."

News On 6 has learned that about 20 years ago Jones spent time in prison after being convicted of larceny.

His next court date is set for October 20th.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ex-business manager sentenced for stealing money from suburban Chicago school to gamble

A judge has sentenced a suburban Chicago man for embezzling nearly $50,000 from a Catholic high school and spending the money to gamble, as well as to fund trips to Las Vegas and Atlantic City, Kane County state's attorney's office said Monday.

Kevin J. Carew, 36, of Aurora, was given four years' probation and ordered to repay $45,000 to Rosary High School, where he worked as the business manager, according to prosecutors. Circuit Judge John Barsanti also barred Carew from entering gambling establishments.

"In stealing from a small, religiously affiliated school that seeks to teach its students to be responsible and ethical citizens, Mr. Carew's selfish acts placed an unnecessary burden on Rosary High School," Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon said in a statement.

Carew embezzled the money from Rosary's operations account from June 2010 to September 2012, prosecutors said. He pleaded guilty in June to one count of theft from a school.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

No contest plea in pastor’s embezzlement case

A West Michigan pastor who was charged with embezzlement entered a plea agreement with prosecutors Friday.

Gary Petersen was supposed to go on trial on two felony embezzlement charges Friday, but instead entered a plea agreement. Petersen pleaded no contest to larceny in a building and an embezzlement charge was dropped.

Under the plea deal reached with prosecutors, Petersen will pay $4,000 in restitution. He will also be sentenced to probation, but will not be facing jail time.

According to court documents, Petersen used money from Wellspring Church in Hudsonville to pay for personal vacations without the church’s knowledge.

School secretary charged with embezzlement no longer with ABSS in Vermont

A former lead secretary charged with embezzling from the middle school where she worked, is no longer with the Alamance-Burlington School System.

Ruby Homer Blalock, 47,of 420 Hoover Road, Mebane, resigned from her job at Hawfields Middle School on Aug. 22, said ABSS public information officer Jenny Faulkner. According to the Mebane Police Department, Blalock was charged Thursday with two felony counts of embezzlement by a public official or trustee.

Blalock allegedly embezzled $650 in football camp funds and $580 in cheerleading camp and sponsorship funds that belonged to the school system, according to an arrest warrant.

She is accused also of embezzling $732.62 in payroll time between May 1 and Aug. 20 by submitting 44.67 hours of work on her time sheet that she didn’t work.

Lt. Jeremiah Richardson said ABSS’ central office contacted Mebane police with concerns about Blalock’s time sheets and “issues with some fundraising accounts” at the school.

Police said as part of her job, Blalock was responsible for depositing some of the money collected through school functions. She allegedly never deposited $1,230.

Faulkner said Blalock was lead secretary at Hawfields Middle School starting in August 2009, with an annual salary of $27,920.04. From March 1999 until May 2006, she was lead secretary at Williams High School.

After being interviewed by Mebane police, Blalock was later informed that charges had been filed, and she turned herself in to police.

She posted a $2,500 cash bond Thursday.

MHS Athletic Director, 2 Others Plead Guilty to Embezzlement in Virginia

Monticello High School athletic director Fitzgerald Barnes admitted in Charlottesville Federal Court Friday to being part of a bid rigging scheme when buying sports equipment for his school's teams.

The fraud also involves David Deane, vice president of Albemarle County-based Downtown Athletics, and Charles Phillips, an equipment vendor in Maryland. All three men pleaded guilty, each to one federal misdemeanor charge.

The case – and - fraud may extend back for years. From 2008 to 2010, federal prosecutors say, Barnes, Deane, and Phillips schemed to get around Albemarle County's policy that requires three competitive bids for purchases over $1,000.

Investigators say the men arranged for Monticello High School to get two fictitious bids, and one lower one from Downtown Athletics, to insure Downtown Athletics would get the business. The purchases involved athletic apparel and equipment all bound for Monticello High School.

"Based on what we learned from the U.S. attorney office they said that there has not been any financial injury to the school system,” said Matthew Haas, assistant superintendent of Albemarle County Public Schools.

In court Friday morning, all three men waived the right to be indicted and go to trial, instead admitting their parts and pleading guilty to the bid-rigging plan.

Barnes, who is also a Louisa County supervisor, will pay a $750 fine and is on administrative leave as athletic director at Monticello, pending a review by the school system. Phillips will pay a $350 fine and Dean's fine is $1,500.

Department of Justice, United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy Western District of Virginia Press Release

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA – Three men, including the athletic director at Monticello High School and the vice president of Downtown Athletic Store, pled guilty this morning in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia to a federal misdemeanor charge related to bid rigging.

In separate hearings this morning in Federal Court, Fitzgerald Arnette Barnes, 50, of Louisa, Va., David Mayhew Deane, 54, of Keswick, Va., and Charles Albert Phillips, 48, of Annapolis, Md., waived their right to be indicted and pled guilty to a one-count Information charging each with one count of knowingly embezzling money belonging to the United States.

“When school officials spend taxpayer dollars, they must comply with procurement rules that encourage competition and ensure that schools obtain the best possible price,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “These three individuals worked together to circumvent these important procurement regulations by creating dummy bids for athletic apparel and equipment. This case demonstrates our continuing commitment to ensuring that public funds are responsibly handled.”

Barnes, the athletic director at Monticello High School, has admitted to being involved with Deane, the Vice President of Downtown Athletic, and Phillips, the Vice President of Sales for Team Distributor, a sports apparel retailer in Maryland, in a scheme to fix bids on athletic apparel purchased for Monticello

The three have admitted that between August 2008 and August 2010 they fraudulently created price bids that were used as the basis for contracts involving the sale of athletic equipment and apparel from Downtown Athletic to Monticello High School. Albemarle County policy requires a bid from three different vendors when entering into contracts with private companies for goods and services which cost more than $1000.

Over the course of several years, Barnes directed Deane to obtain and submit to Monticello High School the three required bids, one bid for Downtown Athletic and two representing other, fictitious retailers, ensuring Downtown Athletic would be awarded the contract.

On several occasions, Deane contacted Phillips and asked him to also submit false bids to Monticello High School that were higher than the bid submitted by Downtown Athletic Store. After receiving the two false and one authentic bid, Barnes awarded multiple contracts for the sale of athletic apparel and equipment to Deane and Downtown Athletic.

Following today's guilty plea hearing, all three defendants were sentenced. Phillips was ordered to pay a $350 fine, Barnes was ordered to pay a $750 fine and Deane was ordered to pay a $1,500 fine.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy and Assistant United States Attorney Ronald Huber prosecuted the case for the United States.

Former President and Treasurer of Topsail Baseball Club charged with embezzlement in North Carolina

 Officials with the Pender County Jail said Thomas Mario DeMatteo was arrested Friday and charged with embezzlement while holding the office of President and Treasurer of Topsail Ball Club located in Hampstead.

Dematteo is charged with embezzling $31,028.60 from the Topsail Ball Club. According to Pender County Sheriff's Office, the crime happened between April 9, 2013, and July 14, 2014.

Officials said DeMatteo was placed under a $35,000 bond and bonded out. His first court appearance will be Tuesday

The investigation continues.

Troy church gets new priest after former priest was charged with embezzlement in Michigan

After more than 19 months, members of St. Thomas More Catholic parish are getting a full-time pastor to formally replace the Rev. Edward Belczak, the Catholic priest charged with embezzling $700,000 from the Troy parish.

This week, Detroit Catholic Archbishop Allen Vigneron said Msgr. Thomas Rice will become pastor of the large Troy parish, which struggled with attendance and donations in the wake of the accusations against Belczak and former parish manager, Janice Verschuren. Rice, who is now pastor of St. Louise de Marillac in Warren, will take the helm of St. Thomas More on Nov. 29.

Rice, 64, has been pastor of St. Louise for 24 years. From 1999 to 2012, he also served as publisher and editor-in-chief of the archdiocese’s newspaper, the Michigan Catholic.

Parishioners will be notified of the appointment at services today and Sunday, but parish bulletins already posted Friday online include the announcement.

Known for being a dynamic, engaging, compassionate preacher, Belczak was suspended from his post in January 2013, after a parish audit found evidence of stolen/mishandled parish money. In April, Belczak and Verschuren were charged in U.S. District Court in Detroit with multiple counts of fraud and conspiracy.

Vigneron had to wait to name a full-time replacement for Belczak because of the intricacies of Catholic Church law. Belczak refused to voluntarily resign. Belczak’s six-year appointment as pastor ended in July and Vigneron chose not to reappoint him, archdiocese spokesman Ned McGrath confirmed Friday.

Since Belczak’s suspension, Msgr. John Zenz has served as St. Thomas’ temporary administrator in addition to duties as pastor of Holy Name parish in Birmingham.

St. Thomas parishioners were divided in their reaction to the accusations against Belczak. After he was first accused, some parishioners started a website and Facebook page to offer testimonials and raise money to defend Belczak.

But the scandal took a toll on the parish. In 2013, for example, the parish’s donations to an annual Archdiocese of Detroit fund-raising appeal fell more than $100,000 short of a $291,770 target, according to past parish bulletins. Attendance and donations continue to rebound since the initial fallout, archdiocesan spokesman Ned McGrath said Friday.

No trial date has been set for Belczak and Verschuren, who were each initially charged with five counts of conspiracy and fraud. The indictment said Belczak stole $110,000 from a deceased parishioner’s bequest to the parish to help pay for a ritzy Florida condominium he bought from Verschuren and her former husband, and that money also was pilfered from special holiday collections and the church’s travel group.

In July, prosecutors added a sixth count to the indictment, charging the duo with fraud connected to the parish’s payments for medical/dental insurance for Verschuren’s ex-husband, even though he was ineligible because of the couple’s divorce.

Both Belczak, 69, and Verschuren, 67, of Bloomfield Hills, remain free on bond, and Verschuren has twice asked and received permission from the federal court to leave the country to work as a travel/tour guide.

Belczak’s attorney, Jerome Sabbota, said Friday that his client is innocent of the charges. Sabbota said Belczak did not know about alleged fraud involving the medical insurance payments.

“He wasn’t aware of that. He was the pastor. He wasn’t running the place,” said Sabbota. Of Belczak’s replacement as church pastor, Sabbota said: “It’s not what the parishioners want.”

Verschuren’s attorney, Patricia Maceroni, did not respond to an e-mail or phone call for comment.

Don Liposky, a parishioner for 41 years who considered Belczak a friend as well as his pastor, said the effects of the scandal are apparent at Sunday masses.

“I just see more empty seats,” Liposky, a basement remodeling contractor, said Friday. Lipsoky said his initial skepticism of the charges has waned since he read the federal indictment, noting “they don’t write those frivolously.”

“I still stick to my attitude that even if he’s guilty of everything, I’d still have him do my funeral because he’s so good at making people comfortable under all circumstances,” said Liposky.

Investigators Probe Suspected CSI Employee Embezzlement in Idaho

 A long-time College of Southern Idaho business office employee is being investigated on suspicion of stealing money from the college for years.

CSI and Twin Falls police haven’t released the name of the employee, who no longer works at CSI, and charges have not been filed.

The amount of money stolen can’t be released because the investigation is ongoing, said CSI spokesman Doug Maughan.

“What I can say is that this was persistent and a cleverly disguised action that took place for a number of years.”

No student payments were affected, he said.

“These isolated acts will have no financial impact on student tuition, class size or the staff of the College of Southern Idaho, nor is there any threat to the long-term success and viability of the college,” he wrote in a news release Tuesday. CSI is insured for financial losses.

College officials discovered financial irregularities in late July and immediately notified law enforcement, the statement said. “Since then, both law enforcement investigations and an internal review confirm the isolated actions of one employee who allegedly misappropriated funds, who is no longer employed at CSI.”

Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs confirmed the probe but declined to comment further.

CSI and police are investigating separately but cooperatively. The college also hired a forensic auditor to identify how thefts occurred.

The incident has led to changes, Maughan said, but he wouldn’t specify what.

“Upon discovery of this alleged crime, the College of Southern Idaho made immediate adjustments to its internal financial control processes,” the statement said.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Church treasurer charged with theft in Georgia

A Georgia woman is under arrest after allegedly stealing more than $93,000 from a Southern Baptist church where she worked.

Gwendolyn Hawthorne, 61, of Marietta, Ga., was arrested Sept. 18 on a warrant alleging that she took $93,744.25 from Crown of Life Community Baptist Church in Powder Springs in Cobb County north of Atlanta. A listing in the Southern Baptist Convention find-a-church database says the congregation was founded in 1994 and has 95 members.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, an arrest warrant accused Hawthorne of using her position as chief financial officer to conceal theft from church leaders by falsifying monthly budget reports. She is accused of making 937 fraudulent transactions between March 2007 and February of this year that went undetected until March 17.

She allegedly used the church’s bank card for personal bills, dining at restaurants, shopping and ATM withdrawals including more than $20,000 at various casinos.

Hawthorne was held at the Cobb County Jail on $110,220 bond.

According to Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company, church fraud globally is a big business. While most Christians do not steal from their church, the company says, those who do often find easy pickings.

Weeds in the Garden, a certified public accounting and business advisory firm specializing in churches and ministries, conducted surveys finding that only 40 percent of churches had any kind of mechanism for reporting fraud, half lacked a formal information technology security plan and only 25 percent engaged in any form of paycheck verification

Monday, September 22, 2014

Your small business should establish internal controls

A lack of basic internal controls can leave your company vulnerable to pilferage, embezzlement, and other types of misappropriation.
    Small firms generally can’t afford to hire internal auditors or set up separate divisions to break up duties. But even smaller companies can establish controls in certain high-risk areas, such as the following:
    Cash disbursements. If at all possible, the owner/manager should sign checks. This control has a dual purpose: management sees how the company is spending its money, and the cash disbursement function is kept separate from bookkeeping or accounting. If the same person signs checks and enters disbursement transactions in the accounting records, embezzlement is harder to prevent. Requiring two signatures on checks above a certain amount also provides greater control.
    Customer collections. Consider having the owner/manager open the mail, especially if customer collections are a regular part of your business. Alternatively, you might ask someone separate from the accounting function to open the mail and prepare the deposit slip. Of course, the practice of making daily deposits is also a good control.
    Personnel practices. By taking care to perform background checks before hiring key employees, especially those who will be handling cash or other high-risk assets, you can prevent problems later on. Of course, financial pressures, addictions, and other factors can corrupt even good employees.
    Perhaps a small business’s greatest control is the “tone at the top.” If management sets a high standard, employees generally follow. However, if a manager is perceived as lax – for example, he or she doesn’t respond quickly when evidence of misappropriation surfaces – employees might conclude that theft isn’t such a big deal.

    Remember this: A company that fails to establish minimum controls is providing a golden opportunity for fraud.

Board opts not to pursue additional restitution for embezzlement in Vermont

At Monday night’s meeting, the Readsboro School Board decided that nine months of court action was enough, and further restitution claims against former principal Michael Heller would not be pursued. Heller’s certificate to teach in Vermont, however, is something the Windham Southwest Supervisory Union and the school board would like to see revoked, and superintendent Christopher Pratt said that he requested the Agency of Education take action to make sure Heller does not teach in Vermont again. 

Heller pleaded guilty in July to embezzling more than $4,500 in school grant money from two separate grants, meant for expenditures on a school play and school security. Heller embezzled the funds over the course of seven months, using the money for personal expenditures such as hotel stays and trips to Dunkin’ Donuts and PetSmart. 

As part of a plea deal, Heller was ordered to pay back $4,500 in restitution, serve 100 hours of community service, and 18 months of probation. 

At an August school board meeting, members of the community asked the board to consider pursuing a civil suit for reimbursement of other items, including the installation of new security following his departure from the school. At the same meeting, Pratt told the board to ask for an increase in the restitution amount by nearly $300, a request that was ultimately denied.

“It would cost us more money to pursue further action in civil or small claims court than to get what we, or members of the community, want,” said Pratt. “The board voted to move on with the healing process. If we continue to dig this up, people won’t contribute to the healing. It’s not fair to the new principal if we are not able to get past what happened when we also have a lot to celebrate and move on with.”

At the August meeting, members of the community expressed concern over the issue of Heller’s certification remaining intact in the plea deal. 

Pratt called the AoE on Tuesday, and said they were well aware of the situation and had received the complaints against Heller. The AoE could not tell him what the outcome would be due to privacy issues. Pratt said that the matter of certification was most likely left out of the plea deal because it is up to the Agency of Education to take the initiative after a conviction. “It’s my understanding,” said Pratt, “if you hold that certification, there are certain things you’re expected to uphold. You don’t have to make part of a plea, because if they break the code of ethics, you have to have faith in the AOE holding up their end of it, and I assume that’s why it was not part of the guilty plea. That in mind, I’m assuming that at some point the AoE will be acting further in their end of it.”

Pratt said that pursuing the matter was based on the principle that the administration needs to be a trusted force in education. 

“A lot of damage has been done, and we want to build that trust up again,” said Pratt. “But we need to make sure no other school in Vermont has to worry about this happening again. It is our job to make sure we’ve done everything you can to make sure you look out for the rest of the community.”

Board chair Cherrie Giddings echoed Pratt, and said that it would be unconscionable to not do their due diligence in protecting others. 

“I feel it is important that everyone work together to create the best educational facilities and opportunities for all children, not just ours,” said Giddings. “Someone who committed a felony, I don’t think they should be in a leadership position in a school ever again. It was a bad mistake he made, but he shouldn’t work with kids and be trusted.”

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Ex-Synagogue Director Sentenced in Embezzlement Scheme in California

The former executive director of the La Jolla synagogue Beth El will spend 18 months in prison for stealing more than $500,000 from his congregation, prosecutors say.
Eric S. Levine, 37, was sentenced for mail fraud Friday in federal court while dozens of his victims looked on.

Several Beth El congregants told U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw about the harm Levine had done to their congregation by embezzling that money.
Others expressed their anger and resentment towards Levine in letters they filed with the court.
“Eric and I worked closely together,” wrote the congregation’s rabbi. “Most of our interactions involved the synagogue’s finances, which means he lied to me every day, every time our paths crossed,” he wrote. “[Now], our diminished staff spends much more time on accounting than on our mission of creating a lively Jewish community in San Diego. It’s hard to know if we’ll ever be the same.”
Court records reveal Levine falsified the synagogue’s books and records to hide his continuing theft, which prosecutors say lasted five years.

In his guilty plea, Levine admitted to misappropriating $394,872.99, but the congregation says its ultimate losses were over $540,000.
According to prosecutors, Levine used his control over the synagogue’s bank account to pay his own bills directly or transfer his personal credit card balance to the congregation’s credit account.
The embezzled money went toward vacations in Hawaii, Mexico and Las Vegas, prosecutors say. Levine also spent thousands of dollars on gym memberships and a personal trainer and purchased expensive leather furnishing and BBQ equipment for his home with the stolen funds.
He hid payments to himself from bookkeepers and executive staff by creating entries for legitimate expenses like “Ritual Fund,” “Rabbi Emeritus” and “High Holidays,” said Laura Duffy, the U.S. Attorney for Southern California. He also created false financial reports and annual budget proposals based on inflated numbers.

“Because of his crime, people lost their jobs, their livelihoods and their lives were changed forever,” the synagogue’s president said.
Duffy said Levine’s deceit started not long after he took the job as executive director in July 2007 and continued until he left the position in Dec. 2013.
“This defendant was a one-man wrecking ball to this congregation, both financially and emotionally, and today the court imposed a fitting sentence for such abhorrent conduct,” Duffy said after Friday’s sentencing.
Levine could have been sentenced to between 27 and 33 months in federal prison but was given the lesser, 18-month sentence in part because he admitted his crime early and cooperated with investigators.

“We didn’t get to indictment, we didn’t get to a trial in this case,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Valerie Chu told NBC 7 News. “He was willing to accept responsibility.”
Judge Sabraw ordered Levine to repay $543,000 to the Beth El congregation and placed him on three years of supervised release when he completes his prison term.
Judge Sabraw told the courtroom audience that the case involved “deeply troubling circumstances” because Levine’s theft victimized both his employer and the congregants who shared his life and faith.
“It’s a deception not only of the synagogue, but everyone who makes up the synagogue, so there are hundreds of victims…The sense of betrayal cannot be overstated,” said Sabraw.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Federal indictment for embezzlement returned against ex-church bookkeeper

The former bookkeeper of an Archdiocese of Louisville parish has been charged with embezzling funds.
A federal grand jury returned an indictment against Tammy Goodlett, 47, of Louisville. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Kentucky, Goodlett embezzled $83,191 between Aug. 2010 and Aug. 2013 by means of wire fraud while working as the bookkeeper for St. Gabriel the Archangel Church and School.
The indictment says Goodlett transferred money from St. Gabriel's accounts to her own bank accounts, made unauthorized purchases with a credit card and manipulated records to make unpaid bills appear to have been paid.
In Aug. 2012, federal authorities said Goodlett made an electronic transaction of $4,000 from the St. Gabriel bank account at Fifth Third Bank into her personal account. That transaction involved not only Fifth Third Bank servers located in Kentucky, but Federal Reserve Bank servers in New Jersey.
If convicted, Goodlett could receive a sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Former school official convicted of embezzlement, theft

A former business official of the Carterville School District, Unit 5, has been convicted for embezzlement and theft.

Todd Frazier, 32, was sentenced Friday to 366 days in a federal prison after embezzling funds from the Carterville School District. Following his release from prison, Frazier will serve two years of supervised release, pay $100,420.80 in restitution, and serve 200 hours of community service.

Court documents reveal Frazier embezzled roughly $114,000 from August of 2008 until February of 2012. Frazier acted as treasurer and payroll officer for the school district.

Ex-business administrator for Knowlton Township school board guilty of embezzlement

The Knowlton Township school board's former business administrator pleaded guilty today to embezzling about $70,000 from the Warren County school district.
Kevin M. Mulligan, 34, of Hasbrouck Heights, N.J., pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree official misconduct before Superior Court Judge Robert B. Reed in Warren County.
Under the plea agreement, New Jersey prosecutors will recommend that he be sentenced to three years in state prison.
Mulligan must pay full restitution to the school district, forfeit his entire state pension and be permanently barred from public employment.
Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced the details this afternoon.
Mulligan admitted that between July and December 2013, he stole about $70,000 by writing fraudulent checks against the district's bank accounts that were made payable to himself or, in one instance, to someone he owed money.
Mulligan began working for the district in June 2013 and resigned abruptly last December.
"Mulligan corruptly used his position to embezzle $70,000 that should have been used for the vital mission of educating students in this kindergarten through sixth-grade school district," Hoffman said in a statement. "It's always a serious crime when a public official steals taxpayer funds, but it's particularly egregious when those who suffer the consequences are young children."
Deputy Attorney General Mallory Shanahan prosecuted the case. The charges were the result of an investigation by the New Jersey State Police Official Corruption Bureau and the Division of Criminal Justice.
Sentencing before Reed is set for Oct. 24.
Elie Honig, director of the Division of Criminal Justice, said a prison term will send a stern message.
"By sending this school administrator to prison, we will deter other officials who might consider stealing public monies to address their personal financial problems," Honig said. "We urge anyone with information about the misuse of school funds or resources to contact us confidentially so we can investigate and prosecute those responsible."
As business administrator, Mulligan was a signatory on the district's three checking accounts and was responsible for paying all of the district's bills and its payroll. The state's investigation revealed that Mulligan created four fraudulent checks totaling $66,550 that he made payable to himself, but that he entered into the district's computer system as checks to various approved vendors or recipients.
The general account required that checks be signed by the school board president and its treasurer, as well as Mulligan, but Mulligan had signature stamps for them, prosecutors said.
For each false check from the general account, Mulligan went into the check printing software and changed the name and address of the pre-approved vendor or recipient in the "remit to" section to his own name and address. After printing the check, he re-entered the system to change that section back to the approved party.
Mulligan also wrote a school district check for $1,000 payable to a hockey instructor he hired for a youth hockey camp he operated, prosecutors said. In addition, he overpaid himself $600 on his first paycheck, and overpaid himself $1,869 on a check he received as reimbursement for waiving certain pension benefits.
The thefts were discovered after Mulligan resigned. School district officials received a canceled check for $10,362 dated December 13, 2013, which was made payable to Mulligan, but was entered into district records as a payment to the district's heating oil supplier. District staff checked with the vendor, which had not received the payment.
The district conducted an audit and discovered additional fraudulent checks made payable to Mulligan, prosecutors said.

DA drops embezzlement charges against coach, pending further investigation

Prosecutors have filed a motion to drop charges pending further investigation against the head football coach at Vanden High School, who was arrested late last month on suspicion of embezzlement.

Levon Haynes, 42, who was also a campus monitor at Vanden, was arrested in August after police said an investigation showed he had embezzled thousands of dollars in funds raised for Vanden High School football. He has been placed on paid administrative leave and has been free on $15,000 bail.

Solano County District Attorney Krishna Abrams said the filing does not mean the case has been cleared completely. The notice, she said, indicates that the intake deputy prosecutor is seeking more information before making an informed final decision on whether or not to prosecute. Asked how long the further investigation might take, she said it would not go on indefinitely and that ultimately if a decision is made not to prosecute a notice of intent not to prosecute would be filed "but that has not happened at this point."

Travis Unified School District Superintendent Kate Wren Gavlak declined to comment on the latest action in the case.

And Travis School Board President Ivery Hood, who had not heard the news until told by The Reporter, declined to comment saying he doesn't "get involved in personnel issues.

District officials had called police into the matter in mid August after, they said, they had commenced their own investigation. Fairfield police have said the matter involves thousands of dollars and may involve more than one sports fund.

Haynes declined comment on Tuesday but his wife, Stephanie said the family is "happy the first step of justice for coach Haynes has been taken" and adding that they "look forward to resolving matters with Travis Unified." She said the coach and their entire family remain "committed to the district, players and community."

Linden Unified bookkeeper pleads guilty to embezzlement

A former Linden Unified School District bookkeeper has pleaded guilty to embezzlement after going on a personal shopping spree on the district’s credit.
Cynthia Deann Haley worked in the accounts payable department and was responsible for making credit card purchases for the school district. But prosecutors say she took advantage of her access to credit cards and racked up thousands of dollars making personal purchases.
She bought bedding, a stereo, aquarium supplies for her pet snake and a long list of other merchandise, Deputy District Attorney Stephen Taylor said.
Haley was on medical leave when the discrepancies were discovered. Her fill-in noticed the unusual charges.
Haley, who is represented by local attorney Doug Goss, pleaded guilty on Monday to grand theft by embezzlement, a charge that was reduced to a misdemeanor because she cooperated with authorities.
Taylor said Haley has paid the $14,000 loss down to about $1,200. She is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 26 with the expectation she will pay off the remaining balance by then.
Haley faces up to one year in jail, but Taylor said the actual sentence likely will be “substantially” reduced if she continues cooperating.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Woman sentenced in embezzlement case in Texas

 The former business manager of a Central Texas school district has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for embezzling more than $500,000 from the district.
Patty E. Smith was sentenced Friday in federal court in Austin and ordered to pay restitution for stealing the money from the Lohn school district, about 60 miles east of San Angelo.
Federal prosecutors said in a statement that the 58-year-old Smith stole federal money designated for the district.
She pleaded guilty in June to charges that include one count of theft from an organization receiving federal funds.
She acknowledged that she embezzled from the district from 2006 to 2012 and used the money for her personal benefit.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ex-minister in custody on theft, forgery charges in Missouri

A former Dexter, Missouri, minister has been arrested for felony forgery and theft over $25,000 and will be arraigned today in Stoddard County Circuit Court.

Marcus Credale Geuin, 35, is accused of taking $112,000 from First Pentecostal Church of Dexter in 2012. If convicted, Geuin could face up to 15 years in prison for theft and up to seven years for forgery.

A complaint on file with the court alleges that about April 1, 2012, Geuin appropriated $65,359.02 from the church.

The complaint further alleges about April 12, 2012, Geuin forged a document from the church's board of directors, giving him the "authority and power" to conduct business on the church's behalf.

The charges stem from an investigation by the Dexter Police Department that began Oct. 2, when an officer took an embezzlement complaint about the church, which is in the 12200 block of North One Mile Road, according to a probable-cause statement.

Later that day, the officer, spoke with church board members who reported "their ex-pastor, Marcus Geuin, stole a large amount of money from the church, and when he left the church, there was nothing left in bank accounts and none of the bills paid."

Pulley said he was told board members "let" Geuin resign May 5, 2013.

One board member "advised he discovered the theft when Marcus was removing $500 at a time using his ATM card," Pulley said. "Marcus did not give an explanation why."

Once that board member began reviewing the bank records, he found the money missing, and the unpaid bills, Pulley said.

"[He] advised on May 6, 2013, ... Marcus made an ATM withdrawal of $140 from the account, which left $2.34 in the account," Pulley said. The withdrawal allegedly was made after Geuin had resigned.

Pulley said the board member also reported noticing Geuin "was withdrawing $500 [from an ATM] several times a day out of the tithing account, and Marcus didn't say what it was for."

The former minister has been living in Wentzville, Missouri.

Friday, August 29, 2014

ABSS secretary charged with embezzlement in North Carolina

An Alamance-Burlington School System secretary has been charged with embezzling from the middle school where she worked.

According to the Mebane Police Department, Ruby Horner Blalock, 47, of 420 Hoover Road, Mebane, was charged with two felony counts of embezzlement by a public official or trustee on Thursday.

Blalock, who was the lead secretary at Hawfields Middle School in Mebane, allegedly embezzled $650 in football camp funds and $580 in cheerleading camp and sponsorship funds that belonged to the school system, according to an arrest warrant.

She is also accused of embezzling $732.62 in payroll time between May 1 and Aug. 20 by submitting 44.67 hours of work on her time sheet that she didn’t work.

Lt. Jeremiah Richardson said Mebane police were contacted by the ABSS central office with concerns about Blalock’s submitted time sheets and “issues with some fundraising accounts” at the school.

Police said as part of her job, Blalock was responsible for depositing some of the money collected through school functions. She allegedly never deposited $1,230 in funds.

According to ABSS public information officer Jenny Faulkner, Blalock resigned from her position Aug. 22. She was the lead secretary at Hawfields Middle School from August 2009 until Aug. 22, 2014, with an annual salary of $27,920.04. From March 1999 until May 2006, she held the position of lead secretary at Williams High School.

After being interviewed by officers from the Mebane Police Department, Blalock was later informed charges had been filed and turned herself in to police.

She posted a $2,500 cash bond Thursday.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Bank Won't Provide Records for Investigation

Three orthodox Jewish congregations claim KeyBank won't give them access to their own accounts to investigate a suspected $1 million embezzlement, unless a judge orders the bank to do it.
     The congregations claim that KeyBank NA, part of Ohio-based KeyCorp, acknowledged the existence of the accounts - despite the groups' lack of account numbers or other records - but refused access without a court order.
     "KeyBank took the inconceivable position that notwithstanding that the congregations are the named holders and owners of its KeyBank accounts, it would not provide the congregations with copies of their own bank records," the plaintiffs claim in Rockland County Supreme Court.
     Other banks similarly contacted "substantially complied," the plaintiffs say.
     The congregations are based in the hamlet of Nanuet, about 45 minutes northwest of Manhattan in Rockland County.
     Each of the three - Congregation and Kollel Noam Elimelech Litzensks, Cong. Lizensk, and Congregation Noam E. Lizensk - is a synagogue or school formed by Rabbi Joseph Mayer, the grand rebbe of the Lizensk sect, a Chassidic group, according to the lawsuit.
     Each of the congregations had one or more accounts with KeyBank, the complaint states, with the Key branch in New City - the Rockland County seat - as their home branch.
     The lawsuit says the congregations "for many years" employed an administrator who oversaw their day-to-day finances and had signatory powers on the bank accounts.
     Recently, though, the congregations "came to the terrible discovery that the administrator had in all likelihood embezzled in excess of $1 million from the congregations," the complaint states.
     He was fired immediately and an internal probe was launched "to confirm the embezzlement and determine the extent of the theft and the damage to the congregations," according to the lawsuit.
     The congregations hired an investigator, attorneys and an accountant. The probe was complicated by actions the administrator took "to hide his theft," including the destruction of financial books and records, the plaintiffs say.
     "Indeed, the administrator did not even leave over a single document or record from which the congregations could obtain the various account numbers for the congregations' accounts at KeyBank," the lawsuit states.
     Despite the administrator's actions, Key acknowledged the accounts. The bank also indicated that the administrator had changed the accounts' addresses to his own, the lawsuit states.
     Rabbi Mayer, accompanied by the hired investigator, visited various banks seeking account records, the plaintiffs say. But he was turned away by Key.
     "KeyBank's refusal is improper and without merit," the plaintiffs say.
     "Without intervention from the court, the congregations will be unable to obtain access to their accounts and their account documents."
     The plaintiffs want a judge to declare them the lawful owners of the Key accounts, and to order KeyCorp and KeyBank to hand over all documents and records to them and no one else. They want any old signatories removed and new account signatories accepted.
     They also want Key to pay them what's left, "upon the execution and delivery to the bank of a properly executed withdrawal slip by the congregations."
     Therese Myer, vice president and director of public relations for Key in Albany, said the bank does not comment on pending litigation.
     KeyCorp was based in Albany before a 1990s merger moved its headquarters to Cleveland. The company has more than 1,000 branches in 12 states.
     Manhattan attorneys David Wolkenstein, of Lauterbach Garfinkel Damast & Hollander, and Frederick Sosinsky represent the plaintif

Ex-Hebron superintendent arraigned on embezzlement charge

The former Hebron superintendent accused of stealing about $15,000 of school funds had her case transferred during arraignment Tuesday to the part of Vernon Superior Court that handles the most serious matters.
Eleanor S. Cruz, 63, who is facing a first-degree larceny charge, made a brief appearance in court, where Judge James T. Graham transferred her case to Part A for Sept. 12.

Cruz stands accused of using school system-issued credit cards for personal expenses, such as clothing, meals, gasoline, and shipping things out of state to her family, according to state police. Most of the purchases were done in 2012.

Fairfield police: High school football coach arrested for embezzlement in California

The football coach at Vanden High School in Fairfield was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of stealing thousands of dollars from athletic fundraisers, local police say.
The alleged activities of Levon Haynes, 42, were brought to the attention of his high school's police school resource officer on Aug. 12, Fairfield police Lt. Stephen Crane said.
Major crimes detectives took on the case and following their investigation, Crane said search warrants were served at two Fairfield addresses Tuesday. Haynes was arrested without incident during the search on the 2900 block of Shasta Drive.
The coach, who is also a Vanden campus monitor, was booked into Solano County Jail for embezzlement, Crane said.
The investigation continues. Detectives did not give a more precise dollar figure of the amount Havnes is suspected of stealing nor how the funds were taken.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Volunteer gets probation for embezzling thousands from Romeoville church

A volunteer treasurer was sentenced Monday to four years probation for embezzling thousands of of dollars from a Romeoville church.
Deborah Suchomel, 52, pleaded guilty to one count of theft in May. On Monday, she brought a check to court for $26,987.26 in restitution to the church - the amount of misappropriated money that could be proven by audits, according to Assistant Will County State's Attorney Chris Messina.

Police previously estimated Suchomel took more than $106,000 while serving as council secretary and preschool bookkeeper for Good Shepherd Lutheran Church between October 2005 and April 2013.

Judge Carla Alessio-Policandriotes also banned Suchomel from any contact with Good Shepherd, assigned her $7,000 bond to be used for court and probation costs, and ordered her to complete 480 hours of community service.

"The defendant must notify any nonprofit group (she approaches for community service) up front that she has been convicted of theft from a nonprofit. I'm not going to set up another victim here," Alessio-Policandriotes said.

"I'm so sorry. I'm just sorry," Suchomel sobbed before she was sentenced.

The Rev. Suzanne Anderson-Hurdle said she and her congregation supported the plea deal so they can move on from "the betrayal" by her one-time close friend.

Suchomel had written checks to herself for cash, and the embezzlement was discovered after the IRS contacted the church about unpaid taxes.

"I was led to believe it was limited to the preschool, but (it turned out to be) all our financial accounts, including some that had been closed for several years," Anderson-Hurdle said.

Anderson-Hurdle, Good Shepherd pastor for 17 years, said dealing with the investigation, financial problems and betrayal has caused her to neglect other areas of her ministry.

"The strain made me pray over taking a leave of ministry. I trust people less. I trust my instincts less. I question what I know about my church, my faith, my God,' Anderson-Hurdle said.

"The outlook our church will survive is not good," she told Alessio-Policandriotes.
 The pastor of a church where a volunteer treasurer stole more than $100,000 is satisfied with the sentence issued Monday.

The Rev. Suzanne Anderson-Hurdle said Good Shepherd Lutheran Church “looks forward to moving on” since Deborah Suchomel was sentenced to four years probation and 480 hours of community service after pleading guilty to theft.
Suchomel also brought a check to court for nearly $27,000 – the final amount agreed upon by her attorney and prosecutors, Anderson-Hurdle said.
“She had already made other payments totaling $56,000 that had been [intermittently] taken and put back, but that did not include any interest or tax penalties,” the pastor said.
Investigators earlier estimated Suchomel, 52, obtained $106,000 between October 2005 and April 2013 while serving as bookkeeper and church council secretary. Suchomel would write checks to herself for cash and the embezzlement wasn’t discovered until last year after the IRS contacted the church about unpaid taxes.
“This was a betrayal against all of us in the church and against me by a close friend,” Anderson-Hurdle said. “I’m very glad we’ll no longer have this taking up so much of the time we should spend on other things.”

Priest indicted on embezzlement charges in Massachusetts

A Roman Catholic priest has been indicted on charges that he embezzled more than $230,000 from the Northborough parish where he served as pastor.

The Rev. Stephen Gemme, former pastor of St. Bernadette, was indicted on multiple counts of larceny by a common scheme over $250.

He is scheduled to be arraigned in Worcester Superior Court on Wednesday.

The Worcester Diocese announced last year that Gemme had stolen from two church and school accounts since at least 2009. It went undetected until a member of the school's advisory board flagged a financial irregularity in a school account and informed Bishop Robert McManus.

The diocese says Gemme immediately acknowledged a gambling problem and sought treatment.

Gemme's lawyer says she cannot comment because she has not seen the evidence yet.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Treasurer arrested in Hillsboro PTO embezzlement case

The Williamson County Sheriff's Office has arrested a Thompson's Station woman on charges of stealing thousands from the Hillsboro School Parent Teacher Organization.

Billie Sue Barker, 44, was arrested Friday and is being charged with theft of more than $10,000. Her bond is set at $50,000.

Barker was the treasurer of the elementary and middle school PTO for the past year. More than $20,000 is believed to be missing from the PTO's account at a local bank. A Williamson County School District internal auditor is assisting to determine the actual amount, officials said.

The money was slated for the purchase of laptops for students at the kindergarten through eighth-grade school, located near Leiper's Fork. The discovery of the missing money was made last week when a PTO check intended to purchase 23 laptops bounced at a local bank.

"It's not right to steal money from kids," said Jennifer Smith, PTO president-elect, who said much of the money was raised during the school's Barnaroo Fall Fest. "We have safeguards in place, and (this person) circumvented every one of them."

Unfortunately, the temptation to steal is real, and it happens more than people want to believe, said Jim Wilson, a certified public accountant and certified fraud examiner. His Bellevue firm assisted in the case of a woman who stole $150,000 from an elementary school's parent-teacher association in Metro Nashville Public Schools.

In that case, Julie Buchanan was convicted in 2007 for taking money from the Granbery Elementary School PTA fund meant for a student at the school who was dying of cancer.

Schools are often a target because there are no controls in place, Wilson says.

"Here's the money. It's very tempting to go get a check and write it out," he adds. "There are a lot of tricks to the trade; they seem to be multifarious. It comes out quite often that schools, churches and the elderly — where someone puts their trust in someone, and they take liberties."

If there is a silver lining to the situation, Superintendent Mike Looney says insurance may help the the parent organization recover some of the mon

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Embezzlement charge accuses woman of stealing thousands from Tulsa church

An embezzlement charge accuses a woman of misappropriating nearly $90,000 from a Tulsa church over a six-year period.
Tamme Michelle Dopps, 52, was charged in Tulsa County District Court on Monday, court filings indicate.
Prosecutors allege that Dopps “fraudulently embezzle(d)” $87,443 from River Oaks Christian Church from July 2008 to March 2013.
Dopps, who has not been arrested, has a $2,000 warrant issued for her capture.
She is described as white, 5 feet 2 inches tall and 120 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information of Dopps’ whereabouts is asked to contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 918-596-COPS (2677), online at bit.ly/crimestopperstips or via text message at CRIMES (274637). Text tips should begin with “Tip918.”

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Omaha police investigate nearly $9,000 embezzled from church

Omaha police are investigating the embezzlement of nearly $9,000 from an Omaha church.

The theft of $8,895 from Lifegate Church near 155th Street and West Dodge Road was reported last week.

Church officials told police they discovered the missing money after firing an employee. They reviewed payroll records and found that the employee had embezzled six times during a six-month period from September 2013 to February 2014.

Monday, August 18, 2014

TCAPS Embezzlement Investigation Now in Sheriff Department's Hands in Michigan

A former Traverse City Area Public Schools employee is accused of embezzling thousands of dollars.
The former West Middle School administrative assistant is not being named because she has not yet been charged.
The interim superintendent says the investigation started earlier this year when someone noticed a district credit card was being used improperly. They spoke with the employee and she indicated it was a mistake.
Later, more money appeared out of place. District officials approached her again, then she resigned.
Since then, the district along with an external company have reviewed hundreds of documents.
In all, the superintendent says about $50,000 dollars was stolen from the district.
Now, the sheriff's department and ultimately the prosecutor will decide whether or not to bring charges.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Woman indicted on embezzlement from Scouts in Virginia

A grand jury meeting in Accomack County on Monday, Aug. 4, indicted a 33-year-old woman on five counts of embezzlement from three local Scouting organizations.

Angela L. Taylor, for whom court documents list a Virginia Beach address, was indicted on one count of embezzling $200 or more from Girl Scout Troop 393, one count of embezzling $200 or more from Grace United Methodist Church Boy Scout Troop 303 and three counts of embezzling $200 of more from Grace United Methodist Church Cub Scout Pack 300.

The charges are related to activity dating to between October 2011 and November 2013.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Brookfield church treasurer admits stealing from church in Missouri

A northern Missouri church treasurer has admitted to stealing tens of thousands of dollars from her own church.

Cynthia Head, 51, of Brookfield, Missouri, pleaded guilty to embezzling funds from the Brookfield Church of the Nazarene by writing unauthorized church checks to herself and making unauthorized withdrawals from the church’s bank account.

As part of the embezzlement scheme, Head also made unauthorized purchases with church checks at local retail stores.

She bought such items as computers, cameras and vacuum cleaners only to then return the purchased items for cash.

Head’s fraud scheme began in September of 2007 and lasted until October of 2013 and netted approximately $192,000 in fraudulent proceeds which Head used for her own personal benefit.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said as Treasurer, Head held a position of trust within the Brookfield Church of the Nazarene and this position of trust significantly contributed to the commission and concealment of the fraud.

Head pled guilty to one felony count of wire fraud Friday before United States District Judge Catherine D. Perry.

Sentencing has been set for November 4, 2014.

Head now faces up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.

Restitution is also mandatory.

In determining the actual sentences, a Judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.

This case was investigated by the Kirksville Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Linn County Sheriff’s Office.

Assistant United States Attorney Charles Birmingham is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Rialto Unified: Judith Oakes embezzlement trial pushed back again in California

Former Rialto Unified accountant Judith Oakes has had her day in court pushed back again.

If that sounds familiar, it does to West Valley Superior Court Judge Bridgid M. McCann, too.

“If there is not a resolution at the next hearing date, (preliminary hearing) dates will be set,” she warned lawyers representing both the prosecution and defense on Thursday morning.

Oakes is next scheduled to appear in court for a “pre-preliminary conference” on Aug. 21.

It’s been more than a year since Oakes was arrested on suspicion of embezzling $1.8 million from the Rialto Unified School District.

Oakes, who worked in Rialto Unified’s Nutrition Services Department for 25 years, is charged with eight counts of embezzlement by a public or private officer and eight counts of a public officer crime. If convicted of all charges, she faces up to 11 years in state prison.

She has been jailed at Glen Helen Rehabilitation Center in Devore since Oct. 9, 2013.

Although Oakes is only charged with embezzling $1.8 million, an auditor hired by Rialto Unified reported that she may have stolen $3.1 million over 14 years. The statute of limitations on embezzlement prevents her from being charged on the full amount.

According to the audit, Oakes allegedly stole an average of $2,000 three out of every four days she worked over the past four years. Video cameras at Rialto Unified reportedly caught her stuffing bundles of cash into her bra on two occasions.

Tulsa pastor indicted for embezzlement

Indicted for "unlawfully divert[ing] Community Center funds for his own personal benefit in the approximate amount of $933,507.80":

Rev. Willard Jones, a pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church, faces three counts of wire fraud and one count of tax fraud. FOX23 learned a community center the church built was the vision of Jones. He helped design it and raised funds to build it. The U.S. attorney said he was also stealing a lot of those funds and living an expensive life, instead of serving this high-poverty area.
The church and the community center are in South Haven, a historically African-American community along the Tulsa-Sapulpa Union railway, southeast of the western I-44 / I-244 junction.

The South Haven neighborhood in West Tulsa was originally established in 1919 as an outlet for black families overflowing the city's then-flourishing Greenwood district. Following the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, the population of South Haven swelled quickly with those fleeing the destruction in North Tulsa. By the time South Haven was annexed into the City of Tulsa in the mid-1960s, what had been a working class black area was largely integrated and the area fell into rapid decline. With absentee ownership and property vacancies becoming the norm, this "transitional neighborhood" experienced a sharp increase in crime and social problems.
South Haven was annexed into the City of Tulsa in the 1960s. If I recall correctly, prior to annexation the area had neither running water nor sewer. Assessor records show a handful of houses from the 1950s, a Tulsa Housing Authority subdivision built in the early 1970s, and many Habitat for Humanity homes built in the 2000s.

According to the church's website, Jones became pastor of the church in 1996 when the then 70-year-old church had only five members. The website states that the community center cost $7 million to build.

Here is the federal indictment of Willard Jones.

Jones shows up in a few cases on OSCN, including this ticket for speeding in Stillwater. According to the docket record, the fine was paid by the church.

OSCN also shows some larcenies by someone named William Leonard Jones, who has the same date of birth as the William Lenord Jones who had his speeding fine paid by Greater Cornerstone Baptist Church. That could be a coincidence or a clerical error.

The U. S. Attorney's Office of the Northern District of Oklahoma issued a press release on the Willard Jones indictment:

As the Executive Director, Jones oversaw the design, construction and fundraising for building the Community Center. Jones solicited monetary contributions from donors, including, foundations, corporations, churches and individuals, to fund the development project.
The scheme to defraud charged in the Information accuses Jones of fraudulently transferring funds from Community Center bank accounts to Church bank accounts and then transferring those funds into personal bank accounts; and, that Jones made large cash withdrawals from the Church bank account that he then used for personal expenses.

Rather than pay for construction operating costs of the Community Center, Jones used the proceeds of his fraud scheme for luxury items, including, hotels, restaurants, casinos, liquor, automobiles, a Rolex watch and a mink coat.

Rev. Willard Jones has just been nominated as a candidate for the Bishop Eddie Long Award for Worst Pastor of 2014. The FBI, U.S. Attorney, and the IRS have all confirmed that Rev. Willard can’t account for more than $900k in money intended for a Neighborhood Community Center. Money that could have helped struggling families in Tulsa was used to buy hotels, restaurants, gambling at casinos, liquor, automobiles and luxury items including a Rolex watch and a monogrammed mink fur coat with matching hat and gloves.

For Breaking News on PimpPreachers like Rev. Willard Jones simply like our Facebook Fan Page or our Twitter Page

As confirmed by FOX23.com

A local pastor was charged in federal court Wednesday in the embezzlement of almost a million dollars from a community center his church built.

Rev. Willard Jones, a pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church, faces three counts of wire fraud and one count of tax fraud. FOX23 learned a community center the church built was the vision of Jones. He helped design it and raised funds to build it.

The U.S. attorney said he was also stealing a lot of those funds and living an expensive life, instead of serving this high-poverty area.

FOX23 was there when Jones broke ground on the community center and when it opened in September 2011. U.S. Attorney Danny Williams said the executive board of the community center did an internal audit in 2013 when Jones said there weren’t enough operating funds.

“About $500,000 was missing. Reverend Jones would not cooperate with that audit, and subsequently the FBI was contacted,” said Williams.

An investigation by the FBI found jones had taken more than $933,000 in all.

“When in fact, he was spending the stolen funds on hotels, restaurants, gambling at casinos, liquor, automobiles and luxury items including a Rolex watch and a monogrammed mink fur coat with matching hat and gloves,” said Williams.

According to court documents, he also used money to pay for work on his house.  “Based on our investigation, there are no funds left,” said Williams.

IRS Special Agent Damon Rowe told FOX23 Jones also lied on his taxes and did not report close to $400,000.  

“Our agents are committed to making sure that we follow the money to the end, and we’ll leave no stone unturned,” said Rowe.

Jones stepped down from his post as executive director of the community center, but remains pastor at Cornerstone Baptist Church. Williams said the crimes he’s accused of committing against the community center affect a lot more people.

“Mr. Jones failed to honor the trust of the community, which needed revitalization,” said Williams.

Jones is scheduled for his first appearance in court next Friday.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Former Kalamazoo Public Schools employee sentenced in $20,000 embezzlement case

 Patricia Ann Davis' embezzlement from Kalamazoo Public Schools began small, but it snowballed to the point she lost count of how much she had stolen.
In the end, the former administrative assistant in the human resources department stole more than $20,000 between January 2006 and July 2013.
"She yielded to temptation. She took a bite. That made the second and third bite easier to take," said attorney Keith Turpel, who represented Davis in the case. "I don't think she realized just how much she took."
Davis, a 30-year employee for KPS and volunteer in the faith community in Kalamazoo, was sentenced to five years of probation Monday in Kalamazoo Circuit Court on one count of embezzlement. She was also ordered to pay state fees and restitution of $20,054.
The district discovered the embezzlement during an internal audit in July 2013, prompting Davis to lose her job with the district.  The embezzlement involve misuse of a district credit card.
In the days leading up to her sentence, the court received several letters from area pastors in support of Davis.
Judge Gary Giguere said it was a case of a good person doing a bad thing. Giguere described Davis, 51, as an "upstanding community leader, who was a good wife, good mother, involved in the very fabric of the community."
But at the same time, Giguere said, she was also "slowly defrauding the public school system she worked for."
For her part, Davis apologized, saying "I didn't intend to hurt anyone."
In response to the embezzlement, Kalamazoo Public Schools has added control procedures to ensure that existing procedures are consistently followed, according to district spokesman Alex Lee.

Merced College embezzlement suspect pleads not guilty in South Carolina

A former Merced College employee accused of stealing $363,000 from the school entered a plea of not guilty during his arraignment Monday.

Joseph Bisinger, 48, faces felony charges in Merced Superior Court for four counts of theft by false pretenses. Each count carries an enhancement because of the amount of money in question.

He was arrested last week and held at John Latoracca Correctional Facility in lieu of $100,000 bail. Bisinger was released Monday on his own recognizance after a recommendation from the Merced County Probation Department.

He faces a maximum of six years in a state prison.

Judge Mark V. Bacciarini presided over the hearing and set Bisinger’s next court appearance for 8:30 a.m. Sept. 8.

Jeffrey Tenenbaum, Bisinger’s attorney, told the judge his client was not a flight risk. Bisinger has been a resident in the county for a decade, Tenenbaum said, and his children live in the area.

Bisinger was placed on administrative leave in April while being investigated by Merced College and fired from the school in May. As Merced College’s lead purchasing agent, he was in charge of dealing with vendors and purchasing supplies for the campus, according to the college.

Prosecutors say Bisinger used a fake janitorial company to charge Merced College for services that never took place over a seven-year period. The charges went back to November 2007 and continued through February.

Merced County Deputy District Attorney Walter Wall said all victims are treated equally by his office, whether a single person or the taxpayers of Merced County.

Wall said some members of the community may see a crime against a public institution as particularly heinous. “The fact that the victim is a local community college serving multiple members of our youthful population – that’s a factor we seriously consider,” he said.

The discrepancy in Merced College’s records came to light, prosecutors said, when an employee noticed that the janitorial services were being charged to the old address of Merced College’s Los Banos campus. The campus on the west side of Merced County moved into its new location in September 2007.

The charges apparently went unnoticed by the annual audits conducted by an outside organization, hired each year by Merced College to go through the school’s books.

Bisinger started working for the college in March 2006 as a receiving clerk. He became the lead buyer in June 2010. As lead purchasing buyer, he made $48,300 per year.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sonora woman indicted in federal child care embezzlement case in California

A federal grand jury has indicted a Sonora woman accused of embezzling more than $42,000 from the Yosemite National Park Child Care Center, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento announced Tuesday.
Charity Brocchini, 40, has been served a summons to appear for her arraignment hearing on Sept. 8 in federal court in Fresno.
The grand jury on Thursday returned with an indictment, charging Brocchini with two counts of wire fraud and one count of embezzlement.
Brocchini, from 2005 through 2009 was the director of the child care center and the Yosemite Child Care Center nonprofit organization, which operates child care facilities in Yosemite Valley and El Portal.
The indictment alleges that Brocchini embezzled $42,608 by issuing extra paychecks for herself and using the child care center’s funds to write checks to herself, pay her personal car and insurance payments, pay off her debts and credit cards, and make personal purchases at retail stores.
If convicted, Brocchini faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

Read more here: http://www.modbee.com/2014/08/12/3483838/sonora-woman-indicted-in-federal.html#storylink=cpy

Youth Sports Embezzlement: Every Organization Is At Risk


As fall sports begins, here is a reminder from Your Kid’s Not Going Pro: the person handling the money for your league or booster club could be a thief. Especially if that person is nice, trustworthy and reliable.

It’s hard enough to get help, especially to find someone willing to do the scut work of handling the books — which is often why a beloved volunteer gets free reign with the checkbook. In most cases, a youth sports organization will avoid trouble by doing what my church requires — two signatures to authorize any spending, with a check cut by a treasurer who produces regular budget reports. It helps if it’s not the same two signatures every time. There are plenty of other bits of advice you can find online to help prevent embezzlement. However, youth sports organizations have to make the effort, or else they’ll end up with volunteers in the police blotter, as happened with these organizations over the last month:

TRENTON, N.J. — A 58-year-old former Pop Warner football volunteer in late July was sentenced to 27 months in prison and has to make $560,000 in restitution — yes, $560,000, that’s not a typo —  after his wire fraud conviction. David Marshall of Jackson, N.J., apologized at his sentencing, saying he intended to pay back money he took from league accounts because of personal financial issues — which never happened. Among Marshall’s responsibilities with Pop Warner’s Eastern Region (which covers multiple states) was handling accounts. Pop Warner officials told the Asbury Park (N.J.) Press that the region has “new oversight procedures in place.”

HASTINGS, Minn. — A man who co-founded a suburban St. Paul, Minn., youth sports league in July was charged with five counts of felony theft, accused of taking $113,000 from that same organization. According to the Pioneer Press newspaper, Robert Reischauer, 62, of Apple AAPL +0.35% Valley worked as the finance manager for the Rosemount Area Athletic Association from its founding in 1976 until early 2013, when he stepped down after league officials noted accounting errors they thought were merely mistakes. Instead, the league said, Reischauer wrote checks to himself and deleted them from his accounting records. (Reischauer has not commented or plead on his case.) Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom noted to the Pioneer Press that, not counting this case, he has prosecuted five youth sports embezzlement cases since 2009.

MILFORD, Ohio — Two women who sat on the board of the Milford Basketball Association were indicted in July on grand theft charges, accused of taking $21,000 over six years for personal use that was supposed to be spent on concession-stand items. The association noticed a problem when numbers didn’t add up, and that Sam’s Club, their supplier of choice, didn’t have receipts to match all the purchases. No pleas have been entered.

You can read similar stories out of Pennsylvania and Washington. In no case did anyone ever suspect any wrongdoing — until it was way too late, risking a league’s survival, or requiring extra fund-raising to keep from leaving parents from holding the (empty bag). The lesson for any youth sports organization, as Ronald Reagan liked to say: trust, but verify.