Through the years, Going Concern has chronicled accountants and finance chiefs getting caught doing really shitty things. But if this accountant is found guilty of the charges levied against her, this has to rank among the shittiest of the shitty. From the Los Angeles Daily News: A certified public accountant charged with embezzling more than […]
Where exactly does "sexting extortion" fall on the fraud triangle, anyway? In today's sordid tale of embezzlement gone wrong, we present Shelly Lough of West Virginia. Shelly worked as a Bethany College cashier before a single misdirected text turned her whole life upside down. Usually, the recipient of a text not intended for their number […]
There is always "that guy" who has to ruin it for everyone. So if next time you go to renew your CPA license, the state board asks you "did you steal from your employer to pay for this license renewal?" you know why: An accountant and finance manager for a local tool and die company […]
Craig Haber, who, after being a partner at Grant Thornton for 11 years, started helping himself to client fees, admitted today that what he did was wrong and he's sure sorry about the whole thing: Craig Haber, who prosecutors said diverted money to his own bank accounts between 2004 and 2012, pleaded guilty to […]
Ronald Schaeffer of Fairbault, Minnesota was the one-man accounting department of Environmental Tillage Systems Inc. He was, in the words of Kevin Born, the company's CEO, the “most trusted employee” at ETS. Disciples of COSO would tell you that this is far from an ideal situation. You know, no segregation of duties and whatnot. This precarious set-up at […]
The other day I asked my wife if she'd be mad if I started a new religion. I clarified that she would not be required to join my new religion; I just wanted to know if I'd have her support. She didn't really answer. Not out loud. But her nonverbal message was as clear as an auditing standard that was clarified in the Clarity Project1. What she wasn't saying was either (a) she'd be pissed if I really did it, or (b) she'll tolerate my stupid questions, or (c) she'd be shocked if I could get more religious followers than I have Twitter followers2.
Here's an interesting story about a fella by the name of Craig Haber. Craig became a partner at Grant Thornton in 1993. Around 2004, Craig decided to start helping himself to client fees that rightfully belonged to GT. This went on for a while. Approximately $4 million in fees from 2004 to 2012, to be […]
Ouch! According to the DoJ, a former employee of Atlantic County Concrete and Material Co. admitted yesterday evading federal income taxes on nearly $700,000 she received in 2008. Nancy Armienti, 59, of Elmer, N.J., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of tax evasion. According to documents filed in this case and statements […]
With the ponies, RV, and Thunderbird all gone, the ex-Dixon, Illinois comptroller must have figured that the jig was up: Former Dixon comptroller Rita Crundwell plans to plead guilty Wednesday to a federal fraud charge that alleges she siphoned more than $53 million from the small northwestern Illinois city’s coffers, according to the U.S. Attorney's […]
Yep! And he allegedly stole about $380,000 from the band. King County prosecutors say that Ricky Goodrich swiped the funds from 2007 to 2010, spending it on "lavish family vacations, spa treatments, life insurance and pricey California wines." Luckily for PJ, an accountant discovered the missing money and finally the jig was up. The Seattle […]
Accordingly, Dixon Mayor Jim Burke is putting the brakes on any investigation because "[it] would cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars" and the woman who had the magic credit card is in a bit of trouble. Hey, someone had to apply the tourniquet after the city bled out. [WAND]
As you know, convicted embezzling-mother-of-all-hoarders, Sue Sachdeva, had a bit of a shopping problem. She did her damnedest to spend all of $30+ million that she stole from headphone cobbler Koss, but now that she's resting comfortably in Danbury, all that loot needs a home. Back in December, we were tipped to an auction that […]
Ahh, Vermont. Foliage, second-rated skiing, and, of course, hippies. But apparently, the Green Mountain should be known for something else – stealing from your employer! According to Marquet International Ltd., Vermont "Vermont topped the list of states with highest risk for loss due to embezzlement in 2011." What's the reason for this? Well, it's not […]
Let this serve as a warning to any would-be embezzlers out there, if you steal, you better report it to the IRS.
42-year-old Collette Snyder of Timonium, MD pleaded guilty earlier this month to filing false tax returns in 2007 and 2008 after she neglected to claim over $382,000 embezzled from her former employer, Towson, MD-based Maple Leaf Title.
As part of her duties at the title company, Snyder had signature authority over the company’s operating, settlement and recording accounts, which allowed her to begin embezzling money from MLT accounts starting in 2007. She deposited company checks directly into her personal bank account, as well as made checks payable to her husband without his knowledge, forging his signature to deposit those checks in an account he was not aware of. At that point, Snyder had been an employee of MLT for two years.
Snyder took around $149,560 in 2007 and $232,968 in 2008. These embezzled funds were used to purchase jewelry, a BMW, trips, home improvements and private school tuition.
Because reporting this money to the IRS without it clearly declared on her W-2 (despite her writing “payroll” in the memo section of company checks she wrote out to herself) would have alerted authorities to the fraud, Snyder neglected to mention the ill-gotten gains. This resulted in an estimated tax loss of $115,529.37 for her 2007 and 2008 returns.
Due to the embezzlement by Snyder and MLT President Anthony Weis, MLT was unable to perform its duties as a provider of settlement services. With MLT’s escrow account drained, existing mortgage notes could not be paid off by MLT, meaning clear and free title could not be passed to the new lender and borrower of those notes. An insurance company that had issued title insurance policies to the borrowers guaranteeing clear title ultimately paid out $3.9 million to financial institutions that held mortgage notes.
Weis pleaded guilty to wire fraud, was sentenced to 78 months in prison and was ordered to pay restitution of $4,007,705, which includes the loss to the title insurance company and the expenses of the individual victims. He began his sentence in May of this year. The interesting part of this story is that Weis stole money intended for his clients’ real estate closings. And then Snyder stole from the company. Birds of a feather…
Snyder faces a maximum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of $250,000. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake has scheduled her sentencing for February 3 , 2012 at 11:00 am.
“Mortgage fraud adds to the underground economy that erodes the integrity of our tax system and threatens the financial health of our communities. IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to ‘following the money trail’ to ensure that those who engage in these illegal activities are vigorously investigated and brought to justice,” said IRS – Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Jeannine A. Hammett.
A lot of work goes into building a championship baseball team. Good pitching, solid defense and, contrary to some people’s opinion, pinstripes seem to help. What many people easily forget is that there is more to it than just talent on the field. There’s the business aspect of baseball that is essential to every successful team. You can’t just throw a bunch of money around and hope for the best, Steinbrenners. There has to be a plan. The San Francisco Giants, the reigning champs, are one of those teams. Unfortunately for the Giants, they are not impervious to bad luck. Case in point – Robin O’Connor, a former payroll manager for the team, has recently been accused of embezzling more than $1.5 million from the organization. The team was not aware that this misappropriation was happening until someone at Bank of America (Yes.) rang them up with news of a letter they received from Ms. O’Connor, who had recently applied for a home loan and had written a letter explaining two very large deposits into her bank account. Apparently, someone at BofA found the following a little bit out of the ordinary:
“Because of her outstanding contributions to our Major League Baseball team and front office during the 2010 season that assisted us in accomplishing our goal of winning the 2010 World Series, she was given two additional payments of compensation in May 2011,” the letter, quoted in the affidavit, states.
Yes, the correct calculation of federal, state, social security, medicare and other miscellaneous deductions were of such magnitude that it warranted not one but TWO bonuses for Ms. O’Connor. Because if no one gets paid, no one is happy. And unhappy players don’t perform.
In aren’t you glad these aren’t your internal controls news, former SDN Communications chief accountant Bradley Whitsell of Sioux Falls, SD pleaded guilty to mail fraud on Monday. The U.S. Attorney’s office states that 46-year-old Whitsell used his various oversight positions to embezzle more than $392,000 over a 10 year period beginning in 2000.
According to court documents, Whitsell used company accounts to pay his credit card bills and pay private school tuition. He also wrote checks to himself, redirected electronic payments to cover his expenses, created company checks on his office printer and requested reimbursement for expenses that already were paid by SDN to pay for various personal expenses, including a large landscaping project at his residence and his country club membership.
Whitsell used access to the company’s accounts payable system to change approved vendors’ names with his own, or with those of companies to which he owed money. He would then print out these checks on his office printer and change the names back to the appropriate vendor in the A/P system.
Whitsell could end up in prison for up to 20 years. He initially pleaded not guilty in June to one count each of Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud, each of which could potentially carry a 20 year sentence and a $250,000 fine. U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson states that Whitsell has agreed to pay back the $392,111.65 and will also cover the $84,000 cost of the audit that uncovered his theft.
SDN CEO Mark Shlanta stated officials started noticing “financial irregularities” connected to Whitsell last year, at which time he was put on administrative leave so the company could conduct a forensic audit and internal investigation. Whitsell resigned before the investigation began (hint: red flag). “It’s been embarrassing for me,” Shlanta said. “I’ve been saddened by the events. Really, I felt betrayed in this past year. Brad was someone I hired and trusted.”
The interesting part of this otherwise droll and useless story is that before the house of cards came crashing down all around him, Whitsell served on the City of Sioux Falls audit committee, not only as a member but as its chair.
Back in June, Sioux Falls Councilor Vernon Brown told one SD blogger that Brad Whitsell received high marks from committee members for his work on the Audit Committee in setting up internal controls for city government. Oh the irony.
Whitsell is currently free on bond and returns to court for sentencing November 7th.
58-year-old Charles Shaffer has been ordered to serve two to four years in prison for stealing nearly $400,000 from his employer to fund a nine-year-long coke habit.
According to testimony, Shaffer stole $381,361 from telecommunications consulting firm Icore Inc. between 2001 and 2010 by writing checks to himself from a medical expense reimbursement employee fund.$381,361 over a nine year period really isn’t that bad of a cocaine habit, unless the guy was buying crap $20 grams from club kids. Think about it… if he was snorting up a really good gram a day at $100 a gram that’s $36,500 a year, but doesn’t take into account high-stress, high-use days like holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and yearly internal audits. Oh wait, obviously they didn’t care about that last one.
“He stole money from Icore, put it up his nose and Icore suffered the consequences,” said Lehigh County Judge Robert L. Steinberg in his decision.
The saddest part of this story (besides the part where the cokehead robs his employer for 9 years and no one seemed to notice) is that Shaffer’s actions very nearly caused the small company, which employs about 15, almost went under had they not had insurance and taken out a loan to stay afloat. “We came pretty close to shutting the doors,” said company VP Paul Kutches in testimony. “(Shaffer) was entrusted to make sure the finances were on the right path.” They were on the right path, alright, straight up his nose. “I would just hope this court imposes a sentence that reminds Mr. Shaffer of stabbing his friends in the back every day,” said Kutches when asked what sort of sentence he’d like to see his former employee receive in this case.
Shaffer started with the company in 1997, however company bank records only go back to 2001. Company officials first contacted investigators in June 2010 when they discovered missing money and Shaffer was arrested the following August. At that time, he signed over his $33,634 company retirement plan and forfeited his $80,000 a year salary.
Now that he’s off the powdered sauce, Shaffer is showing signs of regret for his actions. “There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t feel remorseful,” he told the judge.
Remember, kids: internal controls are an awesome, awesome thing.
Accountant gets prison for embezzling to buy drugs [Morning Call]
A Sydney accountant is set to plead guilty to defrauding her employer of $45 million [USD 47.9 million] before spending the money on several beachside apartments, champagne, diamond jewellery and Michael Jackson memorabilia.
Rajina Rita Subramaniam was working as a senior accountant with the financial group ING Australia in October 2009 when she was arrested for allegedly siphoning tens of millions of dollars from the company into a number of private accounts.
Police allege that a search of ING’s Kent Street office uncovered a cache of luxury items, including 600 pieces of jewellery from Tiffany & Co, Tag Heuer, Bulgari and Paspaley Pearls, 200 perfume and make-up items from Chanel and a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne.
Court told of $45m shopping spree [Sydney Morning Herald]
Timothy Mask worked at Flint Hydrostatics for 25 years calling the company “a true blessing in my life.” Not an extraordinary statement, considering many people have strong feelings for the companies they serve but it’s possible that Mask felt that Flint was such a “blessing” because he spent the last twelve years allegedly “stealing” $1.2 million.
Things started unraveling when Tim up and resigned on May 5th, leaving his boss a Dear John letter of sorts:
“Effective immediately, I resign from Flint Hydrostatics, Inc.,” said the letter Timothy W. Mask left on the president’s desk.
“Flint has been a true blessing in my life,” wrote Mask, 46, of Corinth, Miss. “I will always cherish friendships that I have built and my fellow employees. It has just come time for me to move on to new endeavors.”
You see, Kevin Fienup, Flint’s director of business development and secretary, as well as the son of the company’s president, started looking into Mask’s old endeavors and found a number of checks that were made out to Mask and the company’s janitor. Allegedly, Mask would have his assistant cut checks to the janitor (or Mask if the janitor wasn’t available) who would cash them and then place the cash in a locked drawer in Mask’s office. According to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Fineup “left his office door open and had documents on his desk about the irregular transactions the night before Mask resigned.” One might conclude that Tim saw said documents, figured the jig was up and sat down to write his heartfelt letter.
As for his “new endeavors” it appears that Mask may have been trying to make a break for it, as the Appeal also reports that he had a “two-week vacation to Hawaii” scheduled to start yesterday, had recently sent mail to a passport processing center and had started transferring $200,000 from his 401k. But instead he got arrested which probably kinda threw a wrench into his plans.
About a year ago at this time, we just started learning about Sue Sachdeva, the convicted embezzler extraordinaire of headphone cobbler Koss. It took a little less than a year for everything to get sorted out including quite the inventory of