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.