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 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

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:

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.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Former Church Finance Manager Given Prison Term For Embezzling $141,016 in Oklahoma

A former finance manager for the First United Methodist Church of Stillwater -- who admitted embezzling $141,016 from the church -- has been given a two-year prison term followed by three years of probation when she must make restitution payments.

Dana Sue Eckhart, 44, who moved to Edmond after the felony embezzlement charge was filed last year, did not have an agreement with the prosecution regarding her punishment.

Last week, Associate District Judge Stephen Kistler ordered Eckhart -- who had already placed $23,370 in proceeds from the sale of her Stillwater home with the court toward restitution -- to begin making payments within 30 days of her release from prison.

Eckhart must pay $55,172 restitution, with 12 percent interest pursuant to state law, by the end of her probationary period along with a $1,000 fine, the judge ordered at a July 31 sentencing hearing, which began on July 8, recessed and was concluded last week.

Reverend Michael Chaffin, Reverend John Curtis and Reverend Alan McIntyre had reported the embezzlement from the church by Eckhart, who was finance manager from Dec. 30, 2008, to Jan. 2, 2013, according to an affidavit by Stillwater Police Detective Richard Leport.

"Reverend McIntyre provided an audit report detailing that Dana Eckhart wrote 33 checks to herself or her husband, 17 checks to other people and 46 checks to Capital One," with which the church does not have an account, the affidavit said.

"Reverend McIntyre also noted 216 questioned credit card transactions," on a credit card issued to Eckhart by the church, the affidavit said.

"The loss was determined to be $141,016.99," the affidavit said.

On April 11, 2013, the detective received a copy of the "Accounting Controls Review and Accounting Records Investigation" report for the church prepared by a certified public accountant, the affidavit said.

The report reviewed the church's checks from January 2009 through December 2012, the affidavit said.

There were $60,432.29 unauthorized checks payable to the finance manager, $9,009.50 unauthorized checks payable to the spouse of the finance manager, and $67,547.46 unauthorized checks to the Capital One personal account of the finance manager, the affidavit said.

During the sentencing hearing that began on July 8, Eckhart testified how her embezzlement began, which continued over a three-year period and only ended when she was caught, she admitted on cross-examination to prosecutor Mike Kulling.

"I initially was trying to help others with food, shelter. It was unauthorized. I did use the funds.

"We started having financial difficulty. I did use funds for myself.

"I know I made a really big mistake," Eckhart told the judge -- asking for probation and an order to make restitution.

"We sold our house here in Stillwater. The proceeds of the home were placed with the court for restitution in this matter," Eckhart said -- adding that a house in Tonkawa would be sold to "free up more money for restitution."

Eckhart's defense attorney asked the judge to give her ten years to pay restitution, which the judge said he didn't think was a reasonable period of time -- before recessing the case to July 31 when he decided her sentence.

During the July 8 session of the sentencing hearing, Eckhart said that she was working as a summer day camp counselor for the Edmond YMCA and that her husband was supporting the family as an assistant manager at an Oklahoma City grocery store.

In a pre-sentencing investigation, Eckhart said, "During the last three years we lived in our home in Stillwater, our house payment almost doubled due to insurance and taxes.

"I started falling into the trap of 'I just need a little to make ends meet and I'll pay it back.' I did pay some of the monies back in cash, but have no way to prove it.

"I also was very influenced by what I saw around me. We lived in an area where it mattered a great deal as to what possessions you had. I started to feel like we had to keep up with that.

"I knew and know better that possessions don't matter. I now know that my slip in character has jeopardized my family and what really matters to me.

"I will never let this happen again as it isn't worth risking what is really important...I never had any intentions of hurting anyone and always had intentions of paying it back somehow.

Police investigating 6 years of embezzlement from Goshen church in Indiana

Goshen police are investigating a case of embezzlement from a local church spanning at least six years.
The Rev. John Drexler, pastor of Goshen First Brethren Church, 213 W. Clinton St., contacted police Wednesday, Aug. 6, to report the embezzlement, according to a Goshen Police Department report.
Police said in an email that they are working with the church’s accounting service provider to determine exactly how much money was taken.
No suspects have been arrested and no charges have been filed at this time, police said.
Drexler declined to comment on the situation.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Watertown, South Dakota Woman Sentenced In Embezzlement Case

A Watertown woman accused of embezzling more than $100,000 from the local school district has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $10,000.

Forty-three-year-old Denise Trively also was ordered Wednesday to pay restitution of nearly $147,000.

Authorities say Trively took the money between June 2012 and October 2013 while she was benefits coordinator for the district. She was fired late last year and pleaded guilty in May to a grand theft charge.

Trively was convicted of embezzling from her father-in-law's business in Iowa in the late 1990s.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Former Northern Michigan student president pleads guilty to embezzlement

A former president of the Northern Michigan University student union pleads guilty to embezzlement charge.

Amber Lopota entered a plea of guilty today to the charge of embezzlement of at least $1,000 but less than $20,000. The charge stems from alleged embezzlement from ASNMU while she was president.

Lopota is scheduled to be sentenced on July 18 at 8:30 a.m.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Ex-UVM employee embezzled before in Vermont

Jody Farnham, a former University of Vermont employee who pleaded guilty to a federal charge of embezzlement, is scheduled to be sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Rutland — and court papers reveal UVM was not the first employer she was accused of taking advantage of.
According to a sentencing memorandum prepared by the prosecution, Farnham embezzled $3,000 as an employee of the Burlington School District, but the case went unreported to authorities because she paid the money back in full.
At UVM, according to court documents, Farnham embezzled at least $185,000 over a six-year period, largely by diverting tuition checks from enrollees in workshops offered by the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese, a university entity for which she provided administrative support. Under the plea agreement, signed in November, Farnham agreed to pay back $185,000.
Apart from the tuition payments, a review of the institute's finances by the university's Office of Audit Services found UVM purchasing card transactions, expense reports and mileage claims paid without a documented business purpose. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Waples states in a court document that "the exact amount of the loss cannot be determined with absolute certainty."
Farnham, who worked for UVM from 2003 until 2013, was the institute's only administrative coordinator, the audit report stated, and she had responsibility for receiving cash payments and making purchases for the workshops.
In the government's sentencing memorandum, Waples cites Farnham's theft of "at least $200,000 from her employer" and recommends "imprisonment that does not exceed the bottom of the applicable Guidelines range." That range is 18 to 24 months.
Farnham has remained free since entering her plea.
Waples notes that Farnham "seems genuinely contrite for her crime" but also points out that "UVM is not the first employer Farnham betrayed." Prior to her employment at UVM, Farnham worked as an administrative assistant in Edmunds Elementary School, from May 1997 to May 2003.
Referring to a pre-sentence report that is excluded from the court's public record, Waples states that "Farnham previously 'resigned' from a job with the Burlington School District after she was caught embezzling about $3,000. The matter was not reported to the authorities because Farnham made full restitution — and that is probably why VIAC was unaware of that situation when it hired the defendant."
Farnham's lawyer, Robert Hemley, said Friday he would have no comment before the sentencing hearing. He said he had asked his client not to speak to the media before the court proceeding.
Burlington Sperintendent Jeanne Collins said there has been considerable turnover in the district's administrative ranks since 2003, and she could not comment on something alleged to have happened before she assumed the top job in 2005. She said that embezzlement is not condoned, and if a case had been uncovered under her watch, the allegations would have been reported.
Joseph McNeil, who was the attorney for the school district in 2003, said he had no recollection of such a matter.
In the defense's sentencing memorandum, Hemley asks for a prison term of six months, including three months' imprisonment and three months' community service. Hemley cites 24 supportive letters from friends, family and a post-UVM employer attesting to Farnham's character.
Hemley writes that the letters portray Farnham as "an accomplished, hard-working single parent who successfully raised three daughters.
"She understands that there is no excuse for the behavior which brings her to the Court for sentencing, and she makes none," Hemley's memo states. "She succumbed to the temptation to take money that did not belong to her in order to provide her daughters with comforts and necessities she could not otherwise have provided. She had little financial, and no emotional, support from her ex-husband, and she took what appeared to be an easy and available route to providing for her family."
The Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese, part of UVM's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, offers consulting services to cheesemakers and provided workshops in cheesemaking. As an office program support specialist, Farnham received a salary of $30,649 in 2011-12, according to UVM's website.
A UVM investigation of the institute's finances began after Tom Vogelmann, dean of the college, received an anonymous letter in July 2012 alleging "redirection" of registration funds for the workshops. An inquiry by UVM police, in collaboration with Audit Services, put the "total amount of misappropriated funds at $230,841.74." Farnham resigned in February 2013. The FBI assigned an agent to the case in July 2013.
According to the auditing report, the institute's balance sheet was in the black just one year, 2008, from 2007 to 2013. The net profit that year was $25,046. Net losses in the other years ranged from $5,552 to $96,592. The total net loss over those years was $298,499.
Asked in January why financial problems weren't detected earlier, UVM spokesman Enrique Corredera replied: "Part of UVM's mission is to foster economic development. Such activity often requires subsidizing programs that lose money but which will lead to economic growth. That was the case with VIAC."
He added that "because VIAC was experimenting with different approaches to generating revenue and because of changing market circumstances, the unit's revenue picture changed significantly from year to year. That made it difficult to spot an anomaly in the absence of a steady and predictable revenue stream."
UVM has attributed a portion of the institute's recent losses to a decline in demand for cheesemaking workshops, which were discontinued in May 2013.
Farnham is the second former UVM employee in three years to be prosecuted for diverting payments for educational workshops. In May 2012, Celine Bernier pleaded guilty in Vermont Superior Court in Newport to a charge of embezzlement under an agreement that included a prison term of at least four months.
Bernier, a UVM Extension employee, took registration fees for state conferences for tax preparers and dairy farmers. Police investigators found that she channeled $45,800 in university money to her private account. In 2011, after Bernier had been charged, extension officials said they would tighten up fiscal practices and make sure that more than one person would be responsible for handling money.
Such remedies apparently failed to extend to another wing of the university, the Vermont Institute of Artisan Cheese, where Farnham was solely in charge of the money. According to the auditors' report on the institute, covering 2007-13, "one employee was primarily responsible for all VIAC recordkeeping."
Asked what preventative measures UVM has taken, if any, Vice President for Finance Richard Cate replied in an email:
"There have been a variety of adjustments to our internal controls but the key initiative that will deal with this type of activity is the implementation of a centralized, automated non-credit registration system. We are currently reviewing responses to a RFP that will result in a January pilot and full implementation by July 1, 2015.
"This system will operate in the same manner as our for-credit system in that no one will be able to register for a class or program outside of the centralized system. Thus, the checks will have to come directly to the University in order for someone to be registered."

Friday, August 8, 2014

Ex-Official of Catholic School Sentenced on Embezzlement Charges in Erie, Pennsylvania

An Erie County judge handed down a sentence, Tuesday, to a former Erie Catholic school employee who plead guilty to embezzling thousands of dollars from Saint Peter Cathedral School.

A judge sentenced 63-year-old David Earls to 7 years probation for embezzling nearly $170,000 dollars from the school.

The judge said Earls will have to make a serious effort to pay back all of that money as well as complete 100 hours of community service and write apology letters to school officials.

A plea deal kept the case from going to trial.

In May, Earls plead guilty to charges that he fraudulently used school credit cards for personal purchases.  He also admitted to giving himself and his wife unauthorized raises.  Earls told the court, Tuesday morning, he thought the raises were approved.

Director of the school, Father Michael Ferrick, says it's taken some time, but the parish is moving past this.

"A lot of people have been hurt.  Not only financially, but people who felt that they put their trust in Mr. Earls, feel like they were taken advantage of," said Ferrick.  "We have moved forward and we're moving forward.  The school is going to begin in a few weeks and we have the same enrollment as we did last year, which is tremendous."

Earls has already paid $25,000 back to the school.

Best management practices to prevent embezzlement, the invisible crime of opportunity

As a small business owner, I have been ripped off by embezzlement. Thankfully, I became aware of it as soon as it happened, and the theft did not sink my business. I learned the hard way, but you can learn to avoid it with some of these best management practices.
One of the easiest ways to prevent embezzlement is to never allow anyone access to your bank accounts. The owner of the business will sign all checks when paying for inventory, supplies, payroll, taxes, etc. This means that the business owner must review the invoice or tax document that you are paying, match it to the check that is written and then sign the check.
If you collect the money, make all bank deposits, pay all the invoices and pay all the taxes, there is less room for error. Recently, a payroll processing company in California went bankrupt because the owner decided to take all the money and run. He was never found. The company was a typical payroll processing company where they would calculate wages, calculate FICA and other taxes, write the payroll checks, write the 941 tax forms and checks, and process and file all the tax documents and make all the tax payments. This work was done under contract on behalf of their small business client.
The small business employer would make a single check payable to the payroll company for the total cost of wages plus taxes and a small service fee. What a significant time savings for an entrepreneur! However, this payroll company did not pay to the government the withheld income taxes taken out of the employee’s wages, did not pay the fica taxes, etc., and the employers had to repay all of the taxes owed, and it was in the millions of dollars. Some of these small business victims are out of business, but the victims are still liable for the taxes owed, and probably will be paying on this tax liability for many years to come. If you use a payroll processing company, pay them to do the calculations, tax forms, etc. and then you write all the checks and file your own tax forms. It is one of the best ways to ensure that all of your bills are paid correctly.
Another way to prevent theft by embezzlement is to open and post all business mail yourself. Thieves cannot embezzle if they do not have access to the invoices and bills for your company. Yet a better way to prevent embezzlement is to send your bank statements to your home.
It is also important to remember that you should review your bank statements regularly; this is how I discovered my accountant was embezzling from my small business.
Another best management practice is to use pre-numbered purchase orders, invoices and business checks. Any inexpensive computer can produce an official looking purchase order or invoice with a serial number. But if your documents are pre-printed serial numbers, it is more difficult for someone to create a fraudulent document. Of course, you will have to monitor voided documents, watch for missing serial numbers and most importantly, credits to accounts after an invoice has been sent.


A spokeswoman for the Diocese of Trenton says the accused was an outside contractor to St. James, not an employee as reported, and thus his alleged crime can't be characterized as embezzlement, as stated in the original headline on this post. There's also an update on this story below.]

An employee of outside contractor to St. James Church was indicted Tuesday on charges he embezzled stole more than $75,000 from the Red Bank institution over a six-year period.

An indictment handed down Monday by a Monmouth County grand jury alleges that Robert Ouimet, 49, of Manasquan, issued forged vouchers purporting to have been authorized by someone else, identified only by the initials “R.P.”

The alleged fraud occurred between May, 2007 and November, 2013, the indictment alleges.

Ouimet’s position at the church and other details were not immediately available.

[This update was received from the Monmouth County Prosecutor's office on August 8, 2014: "Robert Ouimet was not employed by the church. He was a vendor who sold ice cream to Red Bank Catholic High School, through the church, several years ago. After his services were terminated, he submitted forged and fraudulent vouchers to the church and continued to accept payment on those vouchers for services not performed between May 2007 and October 2013, resulting in a theft of approximately $216,000."]

Thursday, August 7, 2014

2 former Beaumont school district employees indicted in embezzlement investigation in Texas

A former supervisor for a Southeast Texas school district has been accused of hiring his wife and a friend in a payroll scam.

A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted three ex-employees of the Beaumont Independent School District. Daryl Glenn Johnson, Erin Gipson Johnson and Kailyn DeShondra Pete are charged with conspiracy and fraud upon programs receiving federal funds.

Prosecutors say Daryl Johnson since 2009 was the district's warehouse supervisor. He allegedly put his wife and a friend on the payroll as temporary employees and approved their bogus timesheets. Erin Johnson received nearly $194,000. Pete was paid $90,000.

No publicly listed phone numbers for the Johnsons or Pete could immediately be located Thursday. Prosecutors say the three suspects were not immediately arrested. Attorneys for them did not immediately return messages.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Former Mississippi state employee headed to prison for embezzlement, forgery

 A former state employee has been sentenced to prison for embezzlement and forgery.
Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood says 49-year-old Rhonda Gleason, of Richton, was sentenced Tuesday by Judge Billy Joe Landrum in Jones County. Gleason pleaded guilty to two counts of embezzlement and one count of forgery for crimes that occurred while she worked as a program director at Ellisville State School.
Hood, in a news release, Landrum sentenced Gleason to five years on each count, to run concurrent, with four years suspended and one to serve. She also must complete 624 hours of community service upon her release, pay restitution of $5,500 and court costs plus a $1,000 fine. Authorities say she took small amounts from more than 22 residents during a two-year period.