Accountants Behaving Badly: Busted with Meth, Stealing From Clients, Bank Fraud

A look at the best of the worst accountant malfeasance around the globe over the past week or so.

British accountant, 47, faces the death penalty in the Philippines ‘after being caught with meth in a drugs raid’ [Daily Mail]
Philip Joseph was in a flat with two locals when police burst through the door in Manila at around 5 p.m. on May 13.

Philip Joseph

Officers said they found Joseph, 47, with a woman, Josephine Olayao, 38, and Rodolfo del Rosario, 42, a tuk tuk rider, preparing sachets of methamphetamine. Joseph faces charges of possession and dealing, which carries a maximum punishment of the death sentence or a life sentence.

If found guilty of possession, Joseph faces a minimum of 20 years in prison and a maximum life term.

Joseph had moved to the Philippines and was working in the financial sector as an accountant and legal collections manager.

U.S. Secret Service: Jacksonville accountant stole $12 million from clients before he died [Florida Times-Union]
A complaint filed by the federal government last week alleged that Raymond Lee Hutchins, CPA, had two methods of stealing money from three prominent clients.

For the first method, he overpaid the income taxes for one client, and when the government would send back the money, he deposited it into accounts he had opened in his client’s name, the complaint said. From 2010 to 2015, he stole about $6.4 million this way, the complaint said.

For the second method, he stole more directly from two clients, laundering the money through a series of accounts, according to the complaint. For the first client in this second method, he stole $2.6 million after her death, the complaint said. Two weeks before the client’s death, he set up a bank account in her name and then funneled some of the money through that account on the day of her death, the complaint said.

For the last client, he stole $2.9 million from January 2011 until April 2016, the complaint said, by laundering funds from three trusts through various accounts.

Hutchins, 58, and his wife died in an apparent boating accident in Camden County, GA, in 2016. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources said alcohol, inexperience, and bad weather contributed to their deaths.

Accountant indicted in bank fraud case [The Herald-Dispatch]
Kimberly Price, an accountant in Huntington, WV, has been federally indicted more than two years after she was accused of embezzling more than $1 million from a client’s account.

Kimberly Price

Price, 59, was indicted in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia on 28 counts of bank fraud allegedly committed during her time as a staff accountant at the Huntington-based firm Hess, Stewart and Campbell PLLC.

Price was originally arrested in January 2016 and charged with more than 900 counts of embezzlement, forgery, and uttering in Cabell County after the executor in charge of the trust for Elizabeth Caldwell, a Huntington woman who died in the fall of 2015, went to the West Virginia State Police after noticing the account was lower than expected.

According to a criminal complaint, Price “paid off (a) vehicle, went on trips, helped her son start a business, paid off her (son’s) student loans, supported her boyfriend and supported her gambling habit.”

Accountant for ‘ugly models’ agency fleeced firm out of more than £21,000, court hears [Evening Standard]
Charlotte Harris, an accountant for Ugly Enterprises Ltd., which manages the Ugly Models agency, stole more than £21,000 by forging her boss’s signature in a bid to clear her debts.

Harris, 31, took money meant to be paid to models by writing checks to herself and siphoning off funds into her mother’s bank account.

An audit revealed 16 bank transfers from Ugly Enterprises into Harris’s account made using a card reader she was not authorized to use.

Judge Jeffrey Pegden QC told her she had left Ugly Models with a “tarnished reputation” thanks to the fraud, which totaled £21,071. He ordered that she repay the money in £200 monthly installments.

Harris admitted to two counts of fraud by abuse of position. She was also sentenced to 16 months in prison, suspended for two years.

East Brunswick CPA sentenced to prison for filing false tax return [Bridgewater Courier News]
Amit Govil, a CPA in New Brunswick, NJ, who operated a business in East Brunswick, was sentenced to 27 months in prison for underreporting his income on his personal tax return, avoiding paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes.

Amit Govil

Govil, 58, who operated P&G Associates, which provides internal audit and risk management services to community banks, admitted that for the tax year 2010, he underreported and failed to report the gross receipts or sales of P&G Associates on Schedule C of his personal tax return, avoiding more than $672,000 in taxes.

In addition to the prison term, Govil was sentenced to one year of supervised release.

Police: Des Moines accountant stole more than $200,000 from Open Bible Churches over a decade [Des Moines Register]
Michelene Diane Kinning wrote unauthorized checks to herself while an accountant at Open Bible Churches’ denominational headquarters beginning in 2010 and lasting through 2018, authorities said.

She faces three charges of first-degree theft—each requiring at least $10,000 in alleged theft—and one charge of second-degree theft, which involves thefts valued between $1,000 and $9,999.

Kinning, 54, is accused of writing herself more than $170,000 in unauthorized checks between 2010 and 2016, and writing additional checks adding up to more than $20,000 over the following two years.

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