Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Former Hartland Church Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

The former treasurer of the First Universalist Society Church in Hartland pleaded guilty in court on Tuesday to embezzling nearly $8,000.

Tamara Ross, of Hartland, received a suspended six-month to two-year sentence on the felony embezzlement charge, and was placed on probation for two years.

The 45-year-old Ross must also pay $500 in restitution to the church, which Windsor County State’s Attorney David Cahill said is the amount of money the church paid to meet its insurance deductible.

The insurance company reimbursed the church in the amount of $7,500, the limit of its policy coverage.

Ross embezzled a total of $7,910 between September 2014 and April 2015, Cahill said, adding that church officials were satisfied with the resolution to the case.

Ross, who said she is disabled, will repay the $500 in $25 monthly increments.

She didn’t speak in court on Tuesday.

The misdeed came to light in May 2016 following a lengthy investigation by police, the church’s board of directors and a forensic accounting firm.

Monday, January 30, 2017

FSU College Republicans Charged With Harassment, Embezzlement

Florida State University's College Republicans chapter will hold emergency elections after the club charged its treasurer with embezzlement, and its chairman with sexual harassment, FSUNews reported on Monday. Treasurer Ben Hoades has been accused of embezzling more than $16,000 in chapter funds. A notice of impeachment quotes Hoades as allegedly saying "we don't keep most of our money in the bank, I tend to hold onto most of in cash and spend it when we need to." The club's president, James Fletcher Dilmore was charged with a litany of offenses, “including but not limited to: sexual harassment of executive board members, vulgar language and sexually charged speech during General Body Meetings, verified threats of physical violence against members of both the FSU-CR and FFCR, and the overt solicitation sexual favors of in exchange favorable board positions by James Fletcher Dilmore.”

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Adelanto Little League embezzlement case ends with plea deal

The former treasurer for the Adelanto Little League who faced felony embezzlement charges has been sentenced after entering into a plea bargain, court records show.

Stacy Lynn Blandon pleaded no contest on Thursday to one count of misdemeanor embezzlement exceeding $950 in value and was sentenced to 36 months probation and one day in county jail, according to court records.

Pursuant to the plea bargain, the embezzlement charge was reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor and a second misdemeanor charge of falsely reporting a criminal offense was dismissed. In addition, Blandon was credited one day for time served, court records show.

Adelanto Little League Vice President Dave Thomas declined to comment Friday pending the gathering of more information on Blandon's sentencing, but Little League California District 49 Administrator Martin Hoover expressed his displeasure with the former treasurer's actions.

"Personally, I think any time someone steals money from an organization that benefits young boys and girls, it's a heinous act," Hoover told the Daily Press, "but I still think that even her pleading no contest ... from now on when it comes to youth sports - should she ever want to volunteer again - that's going to draw a red flag."

Hoover said that, going forward, he hopes other organizations won't face "the headache" Adelanto Little League had to experience as a result of the embezzlement. He added he was unclear of the exact amount embezzled by Blandon.

"I know records were handed over to (the San Bernardino County) Sheriff's (Department)," Hoover said. "I don't know if they were able to pinpoint how much, though."

The Daily Press first reported on Dec. 29, 2015, that Sheriff's officials were investigating allegations that possibly more than $15,000 may have been missing from the league. On Friday, Hoover confirmed that figure was accurate.

The San Bernardino County District Attorney's office filed charges against Blandon on March 1, 2016, three months after league officials reported to authorities that they found money unaccounted for while reviewing their books.

In a complaint obtained by the Daily Press at the time, prosecutors said the wrong-doing occurred between Sept. 23, 2014, and Oct. 20, 2015.

Meanwhile, the dismissed misdemeanor charge stemmed from Feb. 3, 2015, when Blandon allegedly reported a felony to a Little League official despite knowing the report was false, according to the prosecution.

In addition to probation, Blandon was ordered to pay $235 to the court; however, it remains unclear whether Blandon will pay additional restitution to the league. Neither the prosecuting or defense attorneys responded to requests for comment, and Hoover said he was unaware of any potential future payments.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Ex-sorority president seeks to overturn $1.6M arbitration award over embezzlement claims

An Olympia Fields woman who worked with a Chicago-based sorority for more than 40 years is trying to get a court to overturn an arbitrator’s decision that could cost her $1.6 million. 
Barbara McKinzie identified as a member for more than 40 years of Alpha Kappa Alpha, and from 2006 to 2010, she served as the organization’s president, attaining the title of “Supreme Basileus.” 
But on June 21, 2013, the sorority sued her in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging McKinzie embezzled more than $1 million during her term. 
According to that complaint, McKinzie in July 2007 convinced sorority directors to pay her a one-time stipend of $250,000 “because she claimed to have created substantial savings for AKA by virtue of her financial expertise and hard work over the past year.” 
Later that month, the directors also approved a $4,000 monthly retirement benefit, which amounted to $192,000 based on her 48-month term. The complaint alleged McKinzie told directors the retirement payment equaled that of the executive director, but that proved to be untrue. It also accused her of establishing a second set of accounting records to circumvent established sorority policy and conceal her activity. 
The matter ultimately went to arbitration, with proceedings taking place from November 2015 through March 2016. On Oct. 10, 2016, an arbitrator ruled in favor of the sorority, awarding it $1.34 million in restitution and damages and $295,000 in legal fees and costs. McKinzie was granted 90 days to file a petition to vacate the award, a window that expired Jan. 9, 2017. She did file on that day, claiming the arbitrator erroneously applied Illinois law instead of Washington, D.C., law, as well as “failed to apply the correct construction of materiality’ as dictated by District of Columbia law.” 
As part of her petition to vacate, McKinzie noted Alpha Kappa Alpha, of which “most members are prominent African American women,” is established under District of Columbia laws but headquartered in Chicago. She also detailed the 2007 meeting at which directors unanimously approved her stipend and retirement plan, then noted she made presentations about those plans at two different membership meetings. 
Of special note is an email Thomas McLeary, of Endow, Inc., sent McKinzie on June 15, 2007, giving her cost estimates for the retirement plan. The arbitrator determined McKinzie breached fiduciary duty by failing to disclose the McLeary email before the directors voted on her retirement plan that July. McKinzie argued Washington, D.C., law would not hold that failure to disclose as a breach of duty, thereby negating the basis for the arbitrator’s award. 
To support this claim, McKinzie cites the sorority’s constitution and bylaws, which designate the laws of the District of Columbia “as those governing its affairs, including litigation deriving therefrom.” She further agued the email does not rise to the level of material information that would have affected the way sorority directors voted on he retirement award. McKinzie cited testimony from the directors meeting of several board members saying the cost of McKinzie’s pension plan was not significant to their decision. 
McKinzie also said the arbitrator “imputed undue weight to the post-hoc testimonies of AKA members and others who were not parties to the pension vote” and “failed to impartially assess expert testimonies.” She also said the arbitrator exceeded judicial authority by ordering actions inconsistent with established sorority policy. 
Representing McKinzie in the matter is the firm of Barney & Karamanis, of Chicago. 
Alpha Kappa Alpha is represented by Henderson Adam LLC, of Chicago.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Embezzlement cases stealing our trust in North Carolina

FROM http://www.the-dispatch.com/

What is the deal with all the embezzling cases in Davidson County?

On Thursday, Ginger Grubb pleaded guilty to stealing more than $350,000 from the Welcome Fire Department while she was that organization’s treasurer. A retired teacher married to a former chief deputy at the Sheriff’s Office, Grubb was, one would think, a respected member of her community before she was caught grifting the agency entrusted to protect that community. Not only that, she was ripping off the taxpayers who help fund that agency – in other words, her neighbors.

But as distressing as it is to learn the person entrusted with money meant for, among other things, new equipment to keep firefighters working safely instead spent it on vacations, shopping and Netflix, it’s even more alarming that this is far from an isolated case. Others over the past year include:

• Former Thomasville chamber of commerce employees Krimson Wilson Brown and Amanda Blair Armstrong were charged in August with stealing more than $100,000 from the organization over a two-year period.

• Matthew Swift, the former manager of Lexington Parks and Recreation, stands accused of embezzling more than $21,000 from the department’s booster club. He was indicted in November.

• Just this week, a grand jury indicted Andrew Eads, a former employee of the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office, on 46 felony charges for allegedly embezzling $19,000 from the agency. Authorities say he stole from funds seized by the Sheriff’s Office in criminal investigations and covered his tracks by altering the department’s computer records.

And as if all that’s not bad enough, we have people charged with stealing from organizations meant to benefit our schools.
• Investigators allege Terry Cranfill embezzled $11,905 from the Welcome Elementary Parent Teacher Organization while he served was its treasurer.
• Lynn Marie Johnson is charged with using the Davis-Townsend Elementary School PTO debit card to embzzle $1,052.81.
• Shannon Justice and Crystal Rummage, the former president and vice president of the Churchland Elementary School PTO, were both charged early this month with pilfering from that group’s account from late 2014 to June of last year. The amount the women are accused of embezzling was not released at the time of their arrest.
In all the cases but Grubb’s, the charges haven’t been proven. If they are, though, this seems like an awfully bad run of sticky-finger syndrome. Maybe organizations should do a little more vetting of the people who handle their cash. It would certainly be appreciated, because we as taxpayers, chamber members, booster club givers and PTO supporters don’t want to pay for someone else’s vacations and Netflix subscriptions.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Vanceboro woman charged with embezzling $130k from local church

Craven County sheriff's deputies say a Vanceboro woman has turned herself in after learning she was being sought on charges that she embezzled from a local church.
Capt. John Whitfield told the Sun Journal of New Bern that 47-year-old Jewel Hardy Scott turned herself in Monday.
Scott is charged with four counts of felony embezzlement, two counts felony forgery of instrument, forgery of instrument, and obtaining property by false pretense.
It was not known if she has an attorney.
Investigators say Scott was the financial secretary of Queen Chapel Free Will Baptist Church in Vanceboro from 2012 to 2016.
The sheriff's office said she took $130,000 by writing checks to herself. The church discovered the missing funds when it started receiving notices of insufficient funds and did an audit.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Bail set for former McKeel administrator accused of embezzling more than $100,000

 Bail totaling $39,000 was set for the former McKeel School administrator accused of stealing more than $100,000 from the charter school.

Ginger Collins, 45, faces seven charges of embezzlement with bail amounts ranging from $15,000 to $1,000 on the different charges.
According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, the former administrator confessed to stealing the $105,426 when School Director Alan Black confronted her about it. She is accused of creating created fake companies in an attempt to cover up the embezzlement.
According to the Sheriff's Office, the scheme was discovered in early September when McKeel's assistant director of operations, Julie Ehnle, noticed charges for a prom dress and false eyelashes to a school credit card to which Collins had access.

Collins resigned in lieu of termination on Sept. 16.
Collins, prior to changing her name from Rosenau, was hired to teach at Kathleen High School in 2005 and became an administrative assistant there in 2007. She was promoted to assistant principal in 2008. She became principal in October 2012. In 2014, she became the principal of Kathleen Middle School.
She was on leave with Polk County School District when she accepted the job at McKeel.
Collins had not posted bail Wednesday night and was still in the Polk County Jail.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Fmr. school administrator charged in embezzlement scheme in Florida

A former charter school administrator was arrested by deputies Tuesday on charges that she defrauded The Schools of McKeel Academy of more than $100,000.
The former Assistant Director of Academics, Ginger Collins, 45, of Lakeland, is accused of creating fake companies to intentionally direct school travel and other discrepancy funds into online banking accounts she created under the names of her co-workers. The total amount of embezzled funds reached $105,426.34.
According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, Collins was granted access to five of the school's credit cards in November 2015 to arrange purchases of a faculty trip to Finland and other school-related activities.
The alleged fraud continued until September, 2016 when the accounting department discovered that Collins purchased a prom dress and fake eyelashes. The receipts which Collins filed for the transactions were marked as "Legacy Funds" and "Marketing," which prompted a larger audit of Collins' activity.
The trail led accountants to Collins' planning of the Finland trip scheduled for December 2016 for 18 staff members. Collins used the $150,000 budgeted for the trip, but the school found out that the trip would only cost around $95,000.
Detectives said the remaining $47,000 surplus was hidden through three fake companies Collins with which she would bill her employer. They included 'Elite Travel,' 'Finpedia,' and 'Atticusprint.'
They added that Collins went as far as creating a fake website for Elite Travel through the Square Space domain host. The website hosting fees were also paid through one of the school's credit cards.
Collins would then allegedly funnel the payments for the fraudulent invoices through online processing accounts from SquareUp, PayPal and Stripe which were opened up under the identities of three fellow employees without their knowledge.
From these accounts, Collins moved the money into her checking account and used that money to pay personal bills, buy clothing and home furnishings, according to the affidavit.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Collins purchased items like a "fat blaster" and a knit hat.
"So I guess the fat blaster was so the nitwit would look good in the nitwit hate," Judd said.
With a complete picture of Collins' fraudulent activity, the director of the Schools of McKeel Academy, Alan Black, confronted her about the embezzlement. She confessed to the theft on September 9, 2016 and resigned that day.
The months-long PSO investigation revealed through electronic records that Collins used her work computer to set up the fake payment accounts and submitted invoices with amounts matching the credit card purchases.
Judd said the chances of ever recovering the money are low.
"Sometimes you recover the money; most of the time you don't," he explained.
She was charged with one count of grand theft, fraudulent use of a credit card, money laundering and three counts of criminal use of personal identification.
Collins made an initial court appearance Wednesday, where her bond was set at $39,000.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Former principal charged with embezzling school funds sentenced to jail, probation in Michigan

 A former middle school principal who pleaded guilty to embezzling school funds will be spending the next 30 days in jail for her crime.

Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Susan Beebe sentenced former Middle School at Parkside principal Kelly Gilliam-Pennington to 330 days in jail, 30 days to be served immediately beginning Wednesday, Jan. 11.

After serving the 30 days in jail, the remainder of her sentence will be suspended while she enters probation for the next five years.

"Being caught is one of the best things that could have happened to me," Gilliam-Pennington said, weeping at the stand. "I know what I did was wrong. There is nobody here more disappointed in me than me."

Gilliam-Pennington pleaded guilty to one felony count of embezzlement of $20,000 or more, but less than $50,000 at a pretrial hearing Dec. 2.

She admitted that between December 2013 and September 2015, while she was Parkside's principal she fraudulently wrote checks out of the school's "Principal Fund" for personal use in excess of $50,000.

In accepting the plea deal, the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office agreed to not pursue a higher charge of embezzling $50,000 or more, but less than $100,000.

"She took $97,362 from the school. That's two to three times what the average Jackson family makes a year," said Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Nick Mehalco. "I understand her personal struggles put her in a place where she sought safety in a casino, but it's one thing to have a gambling problem with your own money and it's another when the money is earmarked for kids."

JPS officials reported the alleged embezzlement to police in September 2015 after audits of Parkside's finances turned up irregularities and discrepancies in receipts and checks, JPS Superintendent Jeff Beal has said.

Kelly Gilliam-Pennington, who resigned suddenly from her position at Jackson's Middle School at Parkside last fall, is expected to turn herself in, according to the Jackson Police Department.

JPS already has been made whole by its insurance company for the missing funds, Beal said.

Beebe approved a restitution agreement for Gilliam-Pennington to repay the insurance company more than $84,000, though there may be a hearing in the future for her to pay the whole amount, Mehalco said.

Gilliam joined Parkside in 2013 after working 16 years in Ypsilanti's Willow Run Community Schools, four of which were spent as high school principal.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


A volunteer with the Pine Forest High School Athletic Boosters has been charged with felonious embezzlement.

Latoya Rhodes, 32, was arrested Tuesday by detectives with the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office after video evidence allegedly showed her taking money from a concessions stand cash box during sporting events.

Rhodes, of the 2200 block of Brinkley Drive in Spring Lake, was booked into the Cumberland County Jail where she received a $1,000 unsecured bond.

Rhodes made a first court appearance Wednesday.

Monday, January 16, 2017

CMSD employee arrested for alleged embezzlement

An employee of Columbus Municipal School District is accused of embezzling from a local department store when she was an employee there.  

Officers with the Columbus Police Department arrested Rosemarie Prater, 36, of 2923 Military Road, on Tuesday.  

Prater is charged with embezzling about $45,000 from Belk department store in Columbus when she worked there in 2015, said CPD Capt. Brent Swan.  

Prater is a receptionist with CMSD and a member of the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee.  

CMSD Superintendent Philip Hickman did not return calls to The Dispatch regarding Prater's employment status since her arrest.  

CMSD Board of Trustees President Angela Verdell told The Dispatch she could not speak about personnel matters.  

"I don't know who that is," Verdell added in reference to Prater.  

Prater stopped working for Belk in 2015, Swan said. She has worked as a receptionist at CMSD for about a year, according to her application for the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee.  

Prater was released from the Lowndes County Adult Detention Center after posting $50,000 bond Tuesday.  

Sunday, January 15, 2017

No updates in suspected embezzlement at MHS Moorpark High School

Though the investigation continues, police said there was no news to report regarding allegations that workers at stole money from its food services department.

“(There are) no new updates right now. We’re still conducting the investigation,” said Moorpark Police Detective Ken Truitt. “There’s a lot of interviews to conduct . . . and we’re just working with what we have right now.”

Detective Matt Theobald of the Moorpark Police Department said he didn’t know when the investigation would be finished. The suspected crime was reported in November.

“It’s a complex investigation with a lot of information to go through and I don’t expect it to be completed anytime soon,” he said.

Theobald wouldn’t say how many people were involved or how much money was missing.

“(They’re) just estimations. They’re based on speculation, not really based on concrete evidence that we’ve gone through,” the detective said.

MUSD Superintendent Kelli Hays told the Moorpark Acorn in November that the money missing “(appeared) to be an amount that would not have affected the daily operations of past years or this current year’s budget.”

Although the investigation involves Moorpark High, Hays said district officials will keep a closer watch on cash management at the other school sites.

“The district has temporarily changed the control procedures with regard to cash management at the high school until permanent changes are implemented and staff is trained accordingly,” the superintendent said. “The district has taken steps to ensure that any such fraudulent activity has stopped and that any cash collected by food services is properly accounted for and deposited appropriately.”

Friday, January 13, 2017

Westland police investigate embezzlement at soccer league in Michigan

Westland police confirm to 7 Action News, the Wayne Westland Soccer League filed a police report after, sources tell us, its treasurer admitted to embezzling funds from the league’s bank account.
The amount taken, we don’t know. But it is enough that the league has had to take out an insurance claim to cover costs.
The league president did not respond to our requests for comment.
The case has been sent to the Wayne County Prosecutors Office for charges. Until then, we are not naming the treasurer accused.
When we called him, he hung up on us. We attempted to reach him at his home. His wife was there and claimed to not know anything about the accusations.
League sources say they are taking steps to make sure this does not happen again and are hopeful it won’t affect the spring season.

Thursday, January 12, 2017


If you think embezzlement is only something that happens at large corporations — where one bad egg out of hundreds of employees can escape with cash unnoticed — think again. Occupational fraud, or the misuse of an organization’s resources by someone within the organization, is a threat to companies and nonprofits both big and small.
But fraud isn’t something that happens overnight. On average, fraudsters can get away with their crimes up to 18 months before they’re detected, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ (ACFE) 2014 fraud report. That same report showed that employees in certain positions are more likely to commit fraud than others. Executives committed fraud in 19 percent of cases studied, followed by managers (36 percent) and employees (42 percent).
Fraud and embezzlement is something no organization wants to be a victim of, but it doesn’t give employers cause to distrust or micromanage employees. It’s important to note that embezzlement is the product of a pattern of behaviors. In the ACFE’s report, 92 percent of fraudsters in cases studied exhibited behavioral warning signs before being detected. So before you launch a full-scale witch hunt for potential fraudsters, watch for the subtle behavioral warning signs of embezzlement in your organization.

The Behavioral Warning Signs of Embezzlement

  1. Changes in Lifestyle: Extravagant Spending or Excessive Debt – As someone who is in charge of keeping an organization afloat, watch for income-related changes in behavior. Employees who suddenly live outside their means, with expensive cars or possessions, might be cause for concern. On the reverse end of that, employees who express financial hardships — due to debt, divorce, or gambling — are also red flags.
  1. Unexplainable Workaholics: No Time-Off Requests or Late Nights at the Office – If an employee is embezzling, he or she will likely go to great lengths to hide it. This includes refusing to take time off or insisting on working late into the night, after others have gone home. These fraudsters are keeping a close eye on their activities and don’t want other employees or managers to see documents that might expose them.
  1. Persistent and Inexplicable Dissatisfaction: Hostility Towards Managers or Other Employees – Not wanting others to get involved in their dealings, fraudsters might act secretive or suspicious around managers or other employees. In these cases, fraudsters are likely feeling the heat from those who might find them out. This is further exemplified by the fact that many occupational fraudsters — 82 percent surveyed by the ACFE — are first-time offenders.
In any case, these behavioral signs aren’t mutually exclusive with fraud and embezzlement. And sometimes, the best way to get to the bottom of odd behavior is to simply and respectfully ask employees if something has changed in their life or work that’s affected their behavior. According to the ACFE, other alternatives, like background checks, aren’t always the best ways to detect fraud.
“While background checks can be useful in screening out some bad applicants, they might not do a good job of predicting fraudulent behavior,” states the ACFE’s report. “Most fraudsters work for their employers for years before they begin to steal, so ongoing employee monitoring and an understanding of the risk factors and warning signs of fraud are much more likely to identify fraud than pre-employment screening.”

Accounting Software: Your Most Reliable Fraud Detector

If you suspect someone in your organization might be committing fraud, consult your accounting software. Up-to-date software that manages audit trails and transactions will better exhibit more concrete evidence of foul play.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Auditor general: Former Eloy school district employee embezzled $23K in Arizona

State auditors claim a former Pinal County school district payroll clerk forged the signatures of her bosses — including that of the district superintendent — to pay herself more than $23,000 in unauthorized overtime pay over three years.

Denise Burden, who worked in the Eloy Elementary School District for nearly a decade, was indicted on 14 felony counts related to misuse of public monies and fraudulent schemes and forgery, according to a report released Thursday by the Arizona Office of the Auditor General.

Auditors found the district's financial discrepancies in January 2016 as they were doing a performance audit, which are done randomly on a handful of Arizona school districts each year.

They investigated further and found 18 different instances between August 2013 and January 2016 in which Burden forged signatures of her supervisors to give herself overtime hours, according to the report.

In total, Burden gave herself 807 overtime hours that never were approved by her supervisors during this span. That amounted to $23,504 in unauthorized pay.

"She embezzled monies from state appropriations that should have been used to support the district and benefit its students," the auditor general's report reads.

The amounts of overtime pay Burden gave herself during individual pay periods varied, according to auditors. In one pay period, the OT pay reached $979.59.

The district put Burden on administrative leave once it was notified by state auditors and then did its own internal review. Burden resigned in February 2016.

Burden's supervisors told state auditors that they were unaware of her ever working overtime.

When confronted, Burden told district officials and auditors that she got verbal approval for some of the overtime she claimed in the three-year span. She also told them she knew that went against the district's unwritten protocols of documenting overtime requests and approvals.

Burden apologized to school officials, told them she had financial troubles and said she was ashamed of what she had done, according to the auditor's report.

This is at least the third instance in the past two years in which state auditors spotted alleged embezzlement in an Arizona school district.

State auditors released a report in August 2015 that claimed a former Roosevelt Elementary School District bookkeeper embezzled $31,000 from the district over two years.

Another state report released in December of that year accused a former Tolleson Union High School District bookstore manager of taking $120,000 from the district in a four-year span.

In each of these cases, the person held responsible was someone who had direct access to their school district's payroll or bookkeeping systems and had little to no oversight from the schools.

That was the same case in the Eloy district, which has just under 1,000 students enrolled, according to the auditor's report.

The district says it implemented a new payroll system that creates "detailed reports that are independently reviewed," according to the auditors' report.

Auditors also recommend in their report that the district create formal written policies on payroll management, which the district did not have when Burden was employed

No jail for woman who embezzled from school band boosters in Michigan

 The former treasurer of the Haslett Band Boosters was sentenced this morning to $15,000 in restitution, in addition to what she has already paid, for embezzling money from the organization.
Karrie LeFave, 37, pleaded guilty in November to one count of embezzlement from a nonprofit or charitable organization between $1,000 and $20,000 in an agreement with prosecutors that dismissed a second count of the same charge.
The plea agreement called for no jail time. Ingham County Circuit Court Judge James Jamo sentenced LeFave this morning to restitution and two years of probation, the prosecutor's office said.
"She recognizes that a lifetime of community s8ervice based on these admittedly poor decision has been undone," said her attorney, Takura Nyamfukudza. He added that the total restitution will be $30,000 and LeFave has already paid back half.
The booster club supports band programs at Haslett schools but is run independently of the school district.
The police investigation began in late 2015 after booster club officials determined that money was missing from club accounts. The investigation showed that more than $30,000 was missing and that LaFave was responsible, Meridian Township police said.

Former Lexington School PTO Officers Charged with Embezzlement

Two Davidson County women were charged with embezzling money from a local Elementary School's Parent Teacher Organization.

Shannon Justice and Crystal Rummage are believed to have taken money from the Churchland Elementary School's PTO according to the Davidson County Sheriff's Office. Justice, of Linwood, was the former PTO President and Rummage, of Lexington, was the former Vice President. Money was reported missing from the organization on Oct. 5 to the DCSO.

The amount of money they embezzled isn't known. Justice, 36, and Rummage, 43, carry a Jan. 26 court date.

This is at least the third reported case of embezzlement within Davidson County Schools' PTOs in recent months. Last month, A Lexington woman was charged for embezzling money from Davis-Townsend Elementary School PTO. The former PTO Treasurer for Welcome Elementary School was charged after he was accused of embezzling more than $10,000 in November.

Woman wanted for church embezzlement in North Carolina

The Craven County Sheriff’s office is seeking the public’s help in finding a woman who is suspected of embezzling $130,000 from a church.

Jewel Hardy Scott, 46, of Vanceboro, has several outstanding felony warrants for embezzling from the Queen Chapel FWB Church at 216 Bailey Lane in Vanceboro.

According to an investigator, Scott was the church’s financial secretary from 2012 to November 2016.

The church discovered the embezzlement when checks started coming back with insufficient funds notices. A resulting audit showed Scott had been writing checks to herself, totaling about $130,000.

A last address for Scott is not known.

“She’s got several,” the investigator said. “That’s the problem. She’s got several in Vanceboro, several in New Bern.”

Roberts, Wisconsin couple accused of embezzling church funds

St. Croix County authorities allege a Roberts woman and her husband embezzled about $190,000 from a rural church over the course of nearly 10 years.
Kara K. Amundson-LaVenture and Michael LaVenture return to court next week on felony theft charges. LaVenture’s charges stipulate he was party to a crime. Amundson-LaVenture also faces one count of unauthorized identity use, a felony. A preliminary hearing in both cases is set for Tuesday, Jan. 3.
The couple was responsible for $167,551 in unauthorized checks and $21,898 in missing cash from New Centerville United Methodist Church, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case. The charges allege the thefts occurred between February 2006 and May 2015.
The complaint states the Amundson-LaVenture used the church’s identity to open a credit card account, the balance of which exceeds its $12,000 limit. In addition to paying church bills, Amundson-LaVenture was entrusted with collecting church donations and fundraising proceeds, according to reports.
The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office began investigating the case in 2015 after a new pastor took over at United Methodist churches in New Centerville — located in the town of Rush River — and Hammond, and learned the New Centerville church’s treasurer had been embezzling funds.
Bail conditions set by St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Scott Needham for the husband and wife include a $25,000 signature bond and a requirement prohibiting them from contact with the church.
According to the complaint:
The pastor, Kathy Huneywell, turned over notes from the previous pastor, Steve Rice, which chronicled the situation beginning in May 2015.
“At a closed meeting for the New Centerville Ad Council, Kara LaVenture read a prepared statement admitting that she had embezzled money from the church since 2012,” the complaint states.
Amundson-LaVenture’s husband claimed at the time that he was unaware for years of the embezzlement. He provided an estimate of $39,392 in stolen funds and offered to pay back the church in installments.
It was learned during the transition to the new pastor that Amundson-LaVenture hadn’t been paying the church’s apportionments — fees paid to the Wisconsin Conference United Methodist Church — or other bills.
The church council decided at the time not to pursue criminal charges against her and sought to keep the embezzlement a secret to protect Amundson-LaVenture’s family. Church officials learned the next day that while the church was insured against embezzlement, claims would only be paid if the incident was reported to law enforcement.
The insurance company, Church Mutual, on May 19 gave New Centerville a 120-day deadline to file for the loss and to notify authorities.
Amundson-LaVenture had resigned her treasurer post by that point, a church council member noted that same day. A church council member later learned LaVenture had been writing checks to the church, cashing them and keeping the funds.
The couple turned over a $15,000 check to the church May 27, 2015, which represented the first payment on the stolen funds. However, in June 2015, the insurance company told the church that it would not be liable for any claims if New Centerville cashed the $15,000 check.
Amundson-LaVenture’s father, an accountant, determined she was responsible for $168,000 and attempted to work out a nine-year repayment plan with the church — a plan that the church council rejected.
Sheriff’s investigators executed a search warrant at the couple’s 157th Street home in the town of Hammond.
While executing the warrant, LaVenture told investigators he would talk if that meant he wouldn’t go to jail — an offer that authorities didn’t accept. But LaVenture began voluntarily talking to an investigator after first invoking his right to silence pending an attorney. The investigator reminded him that anything he said could be used against him in court.
“Michael stated that he did not care because he had nothing to do with the theft, his wife Kara was responsible,” the complaint states. “Michael stated that Kara will admit it was her fault and take full responsibility and tell everyone that he had nothing to do with the theft.”
He then admitted to being responsible for “maybe three checks,” one of which $61 was spent for a church cleanup day.
In October 2016, another sheriff’s investigator met with Huneywell and received an audit from a firm hired by the church’s insurance company that listed $159,751 in losses.
A review by sheriff’s investigator James Haefner revealed the combined loss of checks and missing cash at $189,448.
Haefner also noted in the complaint that expenses on the maxed-out credit card opened under the church’s name included charges for Amazon on-demand videos, a Canadian Walmart, Nordstrom’s, Victoria’s Secret, and hotels in Nebraska and New Mexico.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Feds indict former charter school chief on theft charges in Delaware

A former charter school principal could face decades in prison after being charged with embezzling $5,000 of federal money from the institution, federal officials said.

Noel Rodriguez, 55, who now lives in Raleigh, N.C., was indicted Nov. 22 on four counts of federal program theft, accused of taking money or property from 2011 to 2014 when he was principal of the Academy of Dover Charter School, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for Delaware. His case was unsealed Wednesday, and federal officials announced the indictment Thursday.

During that time, the school received more than $10,000 in money annually from the U.S. Department of Education, the office said. He embezzled a portion of that money each year, which eventually added up to $5,000.

On each count, the former Dover resident faces up to 10 years in prison and three years of supervised release, in addition to possible fines and restitution, the office said.

Trump's school choice proposal a 'mandate' that was 'never talked about'
Rodriguez, who left the school in 2014, used school cash to make $127,866 in personal purchases, reimbursed employees for buying alcohol and other barred items, paid legal fees for a sexual harassment lawsuit and gave arbitrary bonuses to teachers, according to a report that State Auditor Tom Wagner's office issued last year.

His case is being investigated by the FBI, the federal Education Department's Inspector General's Office and the Delaware Attorney General’s Office.

Other charter schools also have been victims of embezzlement. Among them:

• In November, former charter school administrator Sean Moore pleaded guilty to embezzling $161,871 from the Family Foundations Academy in New Castle, Del., according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for Delaware.

• In October, the founder of an Atlanta charter school was indicted in connection with a theft of more than $800,000 from the school he founded. The former head Latin Academy Charter School, Christopher Clemons, was indicted on 48 counts including theft and forgery, the largest accusation in Georgia charter school history, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

• In July, a federal grand jury in Houston returned a 19-count indictment against the founding superintendent of The Varnett Public School charter school and her husband, alleging charges of conspiracy, mail fraud, tax evasion and obstruction of justice, Marian Annette Cluff and Alsie Cluff Jr. The couple is accused of embezzling more than $2.6 million, according to the FBI.

And in 2015, Benita Dinkins-Robinson of Bishopville, S.C., was sentenced to 42 months in prison and ordered her to pay more than $1.5 million in restitution after embezzling from Mary L. Dinkins Higher Learning Academy in Bishopville while she was executive director, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for South Carolina.

Charter schools are public schools and receive public tax dollars, but independent boards and sometimes for-profit private companies run them. Students have to take standardized tests to measure achievement as public school students do.

Delaware, a state with about 950,000 residents, has 28 charter schools, according to the Delaware Department of Education. It has almost 200 other public schools, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

School Administrator pleads not guilty in theft case

A former Webber Township School administrator has pleaded not guilty to charges alleging she embezzled more than $100,000 from the school district.
Sabrina Wheatley, 55, made a first appearance in court Friday before Judge Jo Beth Weber. She faces felony charges of theft of government property in excess of $100,000, official misconduct, and two counts of income tax fraud. The most serious charge is the theft charge, a Class X felony punishable by six to 30 years in prison.
Defense attorney T.J. Parrish waived formal arraignment Friday and his client pleaded not guilty to each of the charges.
The charges were filed in late November by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Madigan alleged that on two or more occasions, Wheatley illegally accessed the Webber Township School District's account for the purposes of stealing more than $100,000.
The embezzlement investigation began in early 2016 when Bluford Unit School District 318 reached out to former Jefferson County State's Attorney Doug Hoffman regarding discrepancies in the district's financial records. Hoffman looked into the matter and requested the Illinois State Police and Illinois Department of Revenue open an investigation.
This investigation led to charges being filed against Wheatley. She was arrested Nov. 20 in Florida and later brought to Jefferson County to face the charges.
Wheatley has posted bond and is not currently in custody.
A follow-up status hearing has been set for 1:30 p.m. March 1. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Greg Stucka for Madigan's Special Prosecutions Bureau.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Former Employee Charged With Embezzling $2 Million From Cleveland Catholic Charities

A former Cleveland Catholic Charities employee who worked at various times as the non-profit's comptroller and business manager was charged today with embezzling $2 million from the organization.

58-year-old Michelle Medrick of North Royalton allegedly used her position to steal millions between 2008 and March of this year.

In a statement last month when the allegations (but not the employee's name) came to light, CEO Patrick Gareau said in a statement, "We are shocked and disappointed that this occurred. Stewardship is one of the core values of our organization and we take the trust granted to us by our supporters, clients and community very seriously. We are working closely with our audit committee and board of directors and have taken steps to strengthen and improve our internal controls and oversight of systems within the organization."

An independent forensic audit was conducted by an outside firm and the FBI investigated. Medrick allegedly altered checks and used donor checks for personal income, among other nefarious acts of embezzlement. 
Catholic Charities has insurance for this sort of thing and has already recouped the missing sum

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Woman charged with embezzlement in Arkansas

Erin Gibby, 39, of Ola was arrested in connection with the alleged embezzlement of funds from the Two Rivers School District, Yell County Sheriff Bill Gilkey announced on Tuesday.
Gibby surrendered herself with the assistance of her attorney to the Yell County Sheriff's Department, where she was served with felony arrest warrants, according to Chief Deputy John Foster
The YCSO was contacted by Two Rivers School Officials in October regarding potentially missing money.
Foster said the YCSO and investigators from the Arkansas Legislative Audit both proceeded with the investigation, which culminated in the arrest.
Foster said that Gibby, who had been the school's financial administrative assistant, was charged by Prosecuting Attorney Tom Tatum with Theft of Property greater than $5,000 but less than $25,000, a Class C felony. She was also charged with tampering with public record, a class D felony and abuse of office, a Class B misdemeanor. Gibby awaits appearance in Yell County Circuit Court.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Getting away with embezzling is not so easy

FROM http://www.clarionledger.com/

Just as with office affairs, those who embezzle are destined to get caught. But embezzlement carries an added caveat: You may go to jail.

Embezzlement is stealing, taking something that is not yours. Those who embezzle are thieves and lawbreakers. Often they want, or think  they need, something they can't afford. It can vary from making luxury purchases, such as trips or vacations and expensive personal items like jewelry to paying bills or helping family members. Addictions to gambling, drugs, shopping and other things can be the basis of the embezzler's actions.

Embezzlement occurs in many industries. Two of the most prevalent are the medical and financial areas, but it happens in all kinds of businesses, large and small. Often perpetrators will think they can get away with it. Yet a large percentage of them are fired from their jobs while a smaller percentage are prosecuted.

According to a study by the Boston consulting firm, Marquette International, the typical embezzler is someone in one’s late 40's with no prior criminal record. The study reported women represent two-thirds of the major embezzlements and that they typically act alone. However, statistically men are at a higher level in the company and get away with larger amounts.

What causes someone to commit fraud in the workplace?

Here are some:

Pressure/ Incentive — Pressures could be gambling, drugs, shopping addictions, too much debt, living a lifestyle beyond one’s means, desire for accumulation of goods a person cannot afford, or desire to provide material things for one’s family an individual cannot buy with his or her own income. The thief's motivation can be seeking payback or the feeling that the employer is not treating the person with respect of fairly. The individual feels the employer can afford the loss and thus rationalizes the need for it.

Opportunity — Embezzlers see what they perceive to be an opportunity and one they can exploit and keep secret. They circumvent established controls using others' identities and forge signatures on checks, create false invoices, issue unauthorized checks or make deposits in their own accounts.

Rationalization — Most who commit fraud in the workplace are first-time offenders, with no criminal background. They believe they are good people, "honest and decent." They justify and rationalize their crimes to themselves. They believe, since their acts are for "good reasons," it is OK. These acts can take place over extended periods of time without being detected but will eventually be discovered. Embezzlers are in denial. They start out by "borrowing" the money with intentions to pay it back but then something else comes up and they "dip into the till" again and again. It soon gets out of hand and they realize they are unable to replace the funds they have stolen.

What are the reasons people get away with embezzlement? The main reason is the trust they have built with their co-workers, employers and family members. They are often long-term, trusted and loyal employees. Their co-workers ignore protocol and routine security measures because of their trust of the individual. Big mistake!!! There is never a good enough reason to ignore dual control, security measures, checks and balances and other processes established by the business.

Steps a company can take to prevent embezzlement include:

Recognize it can happen in your business.
Process all receipts and disbursements through a checking account.
Create separation of duties.
Review all statements, bills and invoices.
Audit the books  internally and with external surprise audits.
Set up dual control procedures.
Reduce amount of cash on hand.
Don't throw away protocol because of friendships or trust of any individual.
Ensure second review of purchases from vendors and suppliers.
Remember, thefts, embezzlement and other losses will drain your business, so putting into place preventive measures is worth the time, effort and costs.

The best advice to all businesses is to prosecute the embezzlers, regardless of who they are or the position they hold in the company. Do not fall into the trap of feeling sorry for them. Don't be overly concerned about the negative PR for the company but more concerned about your reputation for not pursuing the offender to the fullest extent of the law. If not prosecuted, the embezzler will often go on to another employer and repeat the crime. Report it to the IRS. Ensure a thorough law enforcement investigation occurs. Attempt to get repayment, but if that happens, it should not negate the importance of prosecution for the crime.

According to a survey by the National Retail Federation and the University of Florida, "Shoplifting and other fraud cost U.S. retailers an estimated $44 billion in 2014. This includes inventory loss due to shoplifting, employee or supplier fraud and administrative errors." This is a report of retailers only, so when you add all the other business who experience losses, it is astronomical. Fortune reports retailers experienced shoplifting and worker theft of over $32 billion in 2015. Employee theft is referred to as "shrinkage." It has a huge impact on the profit margins of businesses and ultimately increases costs to all consumers on products and services purchased.

If you are involved in an embezzlement, stop it now. Go in to your manager, security department or owner and confess. Be prepared to immediately be suspended and eventually fired from your job. Also be prepared for the effect on your co-workers and family members. It is devastating. You are going to eventually get caught. Stop it before it gets any worse. There is not a good result in what you have done.  Take responsibility for your actions and provide full details to your employer regarding what you have done, who has been affected, if anyone else is involved, and other details.  It may reflect better on you for coming clean on your own.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Castle charter school administrator invovled in $161K embezzlement scandal

As a part of an ongoing investigation that started last year, a Family Foundations Academy administrator pleaded guilty to the embezzlement of over $161,000 from the charter school. “Sean Moore, 43, entered the plea to three counts of federal program theft before U.S. District Judge Richard G. Andrews,” the News Journal reported. “He is facing a maximum of 30 years in prison when he is sentenced in March.”
Last year, WDEL reported that the investigation had begun at the New Castle school:

The school made haste to take appropriate action once the news was released, according to the News Journal report.
WDEL has an itemized breakdown of the questionable purchases made by Moore, some of which included Mercedes Benz payments, a $3,000 laptop and tickets to WWE and Alicia Keys events.
While charter schools in Delaware have had their troubles this year, namely with the Delaware STEM Academy’s misfortunes, they’ve also had successes in the past.