Accountants Behaving Badly: Jailed Over Child Porn, Andersen Alum Fired By Law Firm, Nursery Thievery

Plus, ex-Las Vegas CPA pleads guilty to bribery, and a bookkeeper is accused of stealing $400,000 from two family businesses.

San Rafael accountant, ex-Boy Scouts volunteer gets prison for child porn possession [KPIX]
John Blecka, CPA, was sentenced in federal court in San Francisco on Jan. 14 to two years and nine months in prison for possession of child pornography.

Blecka, 65, a former Boy Scouts volunteer leader, pleaded guilty in October to one count of possessing child pornography. He admitted during his guilty plea to possessing more than 150 child pornography images and videos at the time he was arrested in May.

Blecka will begin serving his sentence on April 30.

UPDATE: This statement from Boy Scouts of America was just emailed to us, attributed to Michael Dybeck, Scout Executive/CEO, Marin Council, Boy Scouts of America:

“This individual’s actions are reprehensible and run counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands. Last year, upon learning of these reports from law enforcement, which appear unrelated to Scouting, we took immediate action to preclude him from future participation in our programs.

Nothing is more important than the safety and protection of children in our Scouting programs – it is our top priority. The BSA has a multi-layered process of safeguards informed by experts, including the following, all of which act as barriers to abuse: a leadership policy that requires at least two youth-protection trained adults be present with youth at all times and bans one-on-one situations where adults would have any interactions alone with children – either in person, online, or via text; a ban on the use of recording devices/cell phones near bathrooms and showers; a thorough screening process for adult leaders and staff including criminal background checks, and the prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse.

The BSA also offers a 24/7 Scouts First Helpline (1-844-726-8871) and email contact address (scouts1st@scouting.org) to access counseling and help needed to report any suspected abuse or inappropriate behavior.

We steadfastly believe that one incident of abuse is one too many and we are continually improving all of our policies to prevent abuse. This is precisely why we fully support and advocate for the creation of a national registry overseen by a governmental entity, similar to the national sex offender registry, of those who are suspected of child abuse or inappropriate behavior with a child, thus allowing all youth-serving organizations to share and access such information. We call upon Congress and other youth- serving organizations to support this initiative.

For more information about the BSA’s youth protection policies, please visit: www.scouting.org/youth-safety.”

Ex-Vedder Price shareholder accused of faking invoices, double-billing [Law.com]
Robert Hankes, CPA, a former auditor at Arthur Andersen, was fired by Chicago-based law firm Vedder Price for allegedly fabricating invoices and misusing a dormant client account to cover thousands of dollars in golf fees and other expenses, according to a complaint by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.

Robert Hankes

Hankes, a shareholder who was a member of Vedder Price’s global transportation finance team until October, fabricated invoices leading to more than $130,000 fraudulent payments to the firm, the Dec. 30 complaint alleges.

According to the ARDC’s record, he is now voluntarily inactive and not licensed to practice in Illinois. As a result of the alleged fraud, Vedder Price terminated Hankes on Oct. 2, 2019, according to the complaint.

Accountant accused of stealing over $500K from Boring plant nursery [KPTV]
Jackie Stevens was arrested last week and accused of stealing more than $500,000 from Jaycee Newman Inc., a nursery brokerage in Boring, OR.

Jackie Stevens

Stevens, 51, wrote herself company checks without permission, forging the owner’s signature and covering up the transactions on the company’s financial records, according to investigators.

Deputies investigated for several months and determined the thefts occurred from January 2015 through January 2019.

Ex-CPA pleads guilty to bribery in Hoover Dam audit contract [Associated Press]
Dustin Lewis, a former CPA with L.L. Bradford & Co. in Las Vegas, has become the second man to plead guilty in a bribery scheme involving a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation contract at Hoover Dam and tax fraud, the IRS said on Jan. 15.

Lewis’ pleas on Jan. 14 to two conspiracy charges came after a co-defendant, veteran former bureau finance chief Frederick Leavitt, pleaded guilty in October to the same charges.

Court documents alleged that beginning in 2015, Lewis paid Leavitt more than $150,000 to steer a bureau audit contract to L.L. Bradford.

In a separate scheme, Lewis and Leavitt defrauded the government of more than $1.5 million by filing fraudulent 2013 tax forms on behalf of six business entities claiming more than $11 million in deductions.

Accountant fined for pension enrollment failure [Accountancy Daily]
Paul Rewrie, a former accountant accused of misleading The Pensions Regulator (TPR) after he failed to enroll a client’s staff into a pension, was ordered on Jan. 8 to pay a fine of £4,987.

He pleaded guilty to one charge of knowingly or recklessly providing false or misleading information to TPR.

Rewrie was sole director of U.K. accounting company PR Finance and Development Ltd., formerly Paul Rewrie Ltd., and was hired by a Cambridge-based family-run company to enroll its staff into a pension scheme.

He admitted falsely declaring that staff at the company had been enrolled into a workplace pension scheme, when he knew that was not the case. Providing false or misleading information to TPR is an offence under section 80 of the Pensions Act 2004.

Bookkeeper accused of stealing nearly $400,000 from two New London businesses [West Central Tribune]
Melanie Daniel, who acted as secretary and bookkeeper for two family businesses in New London, MN, was accused of stealing nearly $400,000 in the past three years.

Melanie Daniel

Daniel, 49, is charged with 44 felonies—39 charges of theft and five charges of theft by swindle.

According to court records, an accountant hired by Lake Country Crane and Wachtler Inc. determined that $386,212.74 had been stolen since December 2016. The family business owners had employed Daniel since summer 2013.

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