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Category Archives: 47N Embezzlement Victories

State v. Mr. A (DMC No. 9146) – Felony Embezzlement/RICO ($88,000 Misappropriated from Law Firm), Felony Fraudulent Schemes & Felony Theft – Not Charged – Resolved with Civil Settlement – Scottsdale Police Department Investigated (DR#20XX-XXXX2); Maricopa County Superior Court, Civil Division (Case No. CV2008-015240).

Mr. A. owned a collection service business. He contracted with a local Phoenix law firm to conduct their collections regarding overextended accounts receivables. Things were not going well at first, and Mr. A. convinced the law firm to let him take over all of the bookkeeper’s duties. This gave him access to all of the law firm’s bank accounts and he was authorized to sign checks into a bank (cost account) only. Over the course of a two month span, he began transferring all of the law firm’s money into various accounts. He would then use electronic transfers, write checks or use “check by phone” transfers to transfer money to himself. These were monies that he was not entitled to.

In addition, Mr. A. began charging the law firm for overhead incurred while working on the law firm’s accounts. The law firm received no benefit for this and they had no idea that this was going on. In essence, Mr. A. was “padding” the bills. The total amount of loss for the two months totaled $88,000. Once this was discovered, Mr. A. secured our services.

We began negotiating with the lawyer who was working on behalf of the law firm. As we were in Settlement negotiations, they filed a Civil Lawsuit against Mr. A., which included accusations of, among other things; RICO, Theft, Breach of Contract and Breach of Fiduciary Duty. We were eventually able to work out a Settlement with the law firm and they agreed that this appeared to be a situation of a miscommunication and bad bookkeeping practices. They decided that they were not going to seek any criminal charges against Mr. A. Initially, he could have been facing mandatory prison time, however, he has no criminal charges on his record.

U.S. v. Ms. C (DMC No. 11750) – (2 Counts) Federal Felony Embezzlement ($780,697 Misappropriated from Federal Credit Union) – Reduced to 12 Months and One Day in Prison – United States District Court, District of Arizona (Case No. 2:13-CR-00867-PHX-SRB-1).

Ms. C’s parents were both involved in a serious motorcycle accident and her mother was given a 1 percent chance of living while her father was in a wheelchair for several months. Ms. C stepped in and took responsibility for all of her family’s needs. Her mother, who normally managed the family’s finances, had a serious brain injury so Ms. C took over this responsibility as well. She quickly became overwhelmed caring for her siblings and her parents, all while maintaining the household responsibilities. This ultimately led to her using crystal meth so she could stay awake in order to care for her family.

She became addicted and her life quickly spiraled out of control. She made a series of poor decisions with her family’s finances, and she started gambling in order to escape the increased pressures and responsibilities. This put her family further and further into debt, and she eventually depleted all of her parents’ savings. Once her father noticed problems with the bank account, she tried to correct the problem before he could fully discover what had occurred. This is when she decided to misappropriate money from her employer at the Pinal Federal Credit Union until she could pay it back. This amount eventually grew to $780,697 before the Embezzlement was discovered.

We became involved in the case, and were able to bring in a Mitigation Specialist to conduct a complete evaluation on Ms. C. We also presented the Prosecutor with further evidence of her being physically and mentally abused by her husband, who was also a drug addict. During the pendency of the case, her husband was killed in an apparent drug deal gone bad. In addition, her one and a half year old daughter had recently undergone surgery to remove a cyst on her spine and was paralyzed from the surgery. Even though Ms. C was charged with 2 counts of Embezzlement under 18 USC 657, and even though she had Embezzled almost $800,000 the Judge issued a “downward departure” and Sentenced Ms. C. to only 12 months in custody. Originally, Ms. C was facing 30 years in prison.

State v. Ms. D (DMC No. 13219) – (4 Counts) Felony Embezzlement/Fraud Schemes ($315,237 Misappropriated from Employer) and (1 Count) Felony Theft – Reduced to 1.2 Years in Prison – Maricopa County Superior Court (Case No. CR2015-001338).

Ms. D was a Controller at a local HVAC company. She was responsible to utilize online bill payment software in order to handle the company’s accounts payables. She had used company funds to pay her personal credit card 55 times for a total $262,879. A reconciliation of the books had not been done for three months, and the owner became suspicious.

The owner also noticed that Ms. D was living an extravagant lifestyle for somebody who wasn’t paid very much. The owner had the company’s CPA do a reconciliation, and the Fraud Scheme was discovered. In addition to the 55 credit card payments, it was also discovered that two credit card refunds were posted on Ms. D’s account for a total of $5,048. She also made deposits to her husband’s bank account as fake payroll in an amount of $11,463. She had personal air conditioning units installed in her home for $9,020, and she did not take any deduction for her personal health insurance for an amount of $25,551. Lastly, she had the company pay her childcare costs for approximately $5,000. The total amount of the Fraud was $315,237.

Once Detectives were brought in, Ms. D was questioned and then arrested. She then secured our services. We immediately began combing through all of the financial records in order to verify whether these claims were true. We also began making arrangements for Ms. D to secure funds in order to attempt to make as much restitution as possible. We dealt with the Prosecutor and the victim’s attorney, and we explained Ms. D’s history and other mitigating factors. Ultimately, we secured an offer of probation with 1.2 years in prison. If Ms. D were originally convicted on all 5 charges, which occurred on multiple dates, she could have been sentenced up to 62.5 years in prison. She successfully completed her brief prison time and her family is still intact.

State v. Mr. B (DMC No. 13979) – Felony Embezzlement ($1,855 Misappropriated from Educational Association), Felony Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices and Felony Theft – Not Charged –Bisbee Police Department Investigated (DR No. B20XX-XXX2).

Mr. B worked for four years in the Cochise County School Superintendent’s Offices as a grants administrator and educational services agency employee. While he was there, he formed a separate Educational Association in which received dues from other County Superintendent Offices. He originally opened an account at Bank of America in order to deposit monies into that account. He collected approximately $1,855 to start this Association.

He then dissolved the Association with the Corporation Commission fairly quickly, He then transferred the remaining money to a different bank’s account and he rolled it into a new private Educational Foundation. He then closed the original B of A account. He was subsequently contacted by the Bisbee Police Department to discuss possible Embezzlement/Fraud Schemes and Thefts allegations.

Mr. B then contacted our office and we immediately made contact with the Cochise County School Superintendent’s Office. We were able to demonstrate that the one Foundation was properly dissolved and that the monies were then rolled into a separate/new Educational Foundation. There was some debate about whether this could legally be done, and we ultimately agreed that Mr. B make the full restitution in exchange to resolve this matter civilly. The County Superintendent’s Office agreed, along with the Bisbee Police Department, and restitution was made in full. No charges were ever brought against Mr. B and he has no criminal record.

State v. Ms. R (DMC No. 14569) – Felony Embezzlement ($50,000 Misappropriated from Interior Design Business), Felony Fraudulent Schemes, Felony Theft, Felony Identify Theft, Felony Forgery and Felony Obtaining a Credit Card by Fraudulent Means – Not Charged – Phoenix Police Department Investigated (DR No. 20XX-XXXXXXX3).

Ms. R was employed as a bookkeeper/personal assistant to the owner of an interior design business. She had access to all information regarding the business, and access to the checking accounts in order to pay business expenses. She was accused of using 3 different bank accounts and obtaining 5 different credit cards fraudulently by assuming the identity of the owner. Over the course of three years, she allegedly embezzled over $50,000.

We were brought into the case and we began defending Ms. R. We contacted the interior design business owner’s husband who was a licensed attorney in Arizona. We were able to demonstrate that some of the credit cards obtained were actually in our client’s name, and those were used actually to pay business expenses. The itemized business expenses on the credit card were then paid by company check. What became problematic was demonstrating other credit cards taken out in the owner’s name had a forged signature on the application in violation of ARS 13-2102. The owners ultimately filed a police report with the City of Phoenix. We had always contended that this was actually a civil matter, and not a criminal matter, and ultimately the Phoenix Police Department did not forward the case onto the County Attorney’s Office for charging. No criminal charges were ever brought against Ms. R. If they had been, and if she were convicted of all charges, she would have faced well over a decade in prison. As it finalized, no criminal charges were ever brought against Ms. R and she has no criminal record.

State v. Mr. K (DMC No. 14801) – Felony Embezzlement ($109,000 Misappropriated from a Non-Profit Educational Foundation), Felony Fraudulent Schemes and Felony Theft – Not Charged – Educational Foundation Investigated.

Mr. K secured his position as a Treasurer of an Arizona non-profit educational foundation. He informed them that he was a CPA, when in reality he had passed the CPA exam, but he did not have enough hours to actually receive his certification. In order to secure the position, he also informed them that he would be donating the office rent payment at approximately $1,000 a month while in that position. Again, in reality he was taking funds from the foundation’s checking account to pay those rent payments.

He held the position as Treasurer for 13 years. During that time, he misappropriated approximately $109,000 for both the office rent, and for his personal expenses. The Director, President/CEO and the Secretary began asking questions about the books being “sloppy.” Mr. K then secured our services in order to help him from being charged with any criminal activity. We contacted the Foundation and presented an accounting that showed much of the benefit was the rent paid for the Foundation’s offices. In other words, they were not actually out the benefit of the money used to pay the rent. We also showed that Mr. K’s elderly wife had various medical problems and dementia, and this placed a heavy mental toll on him. Ultimately, we were able to secure an agreement which would allow Mr. K to make a $30,000 payment over time, and no criminal charges would be sought against him. Originally, he was facing mandatory prison time due the amount of loss being above $100,000.

State v. Mr. G (DMC No. 14590) – Felony Embezzlement ($471,640), Felony Mortgage Fraud and Felony Fraudulent Schemes – Not Charged – Enforcement and Compliance Division of the Arizona Department of Real Estate Investigated (File No. XXF-DI-XXX-REL).

Mr. G owned a global investment company and he was issued a real estate license through the Arizona Department of Real Estate. Later, he was also issued a broker’s license and a salesperson license. The Department of Real Estate conducted an onsite audit of Mr. G’s books and they found varying discrepancies.

His employees were negligent in the performing acts, which required a license, and they did not exercise supervision over the company. Specifically, property management duties were not properly handled. At one point, a property management agreement which was utilized by Mr. G which did not contain a clause stating that the PMA cannot be assigned to another licensee, or licensed entity, without the expressed written consent of the property owner as required by A.R.S. 32-2173(A) (1) (j).

The main issue was that the property management trust agreement, journals and client ledgers were not in balance with each other. This is required by A.R.S. 32-2151(B) (2). The resulting shortage was an amount of $471,640. The Department of Real Estate alleged that Mr. G had opened a line of credit from Chase Bank for approximately $300,000. They alleged that he had done this by purchasing Certificates of Deposit with trust fund account money and used that as collateral to secure the line of credit. They then alleged that he later bought properties to use for himself, and not for the benefit of his clients. Ultimately, the Arizona Department of Real Estate filed a Cease and Desist Order and set the case for a Hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. In addition, civil lawsuits were filed against Mr. G.

We became involved at the request of Mr. G’s civil counsel in order to prevent criminal charges from being filed. We were able to show that the entire amount of money that was supposedly missing was actually still deposited with the bank in various CDs. We were also able to show prior email communications with somebody in the Department of Real Estate who indicated that securing a line of credit with the CDs was “okay”, since the money couldn’t be touched and was being held at the actual bank. Eventually, all of the clients were made whole, and after a Motion to Stay the civil proceedings was filed, the case resolved.

Ms. N. was employed as an Office Manager for a corporation from 2005 to 2014. She was caught fraudulently distributing 401(k) profit share distribution, which belonged to other employees, into her personal 401(k) account. That amount totaled $6,600. While she was being terminated, she admitted to the Theft. After a complete and thorough accounting was done by the corporation, it was determined that other amounts were also missing. In addition to the 401(k) money, she submitted fraudulent expense reimbursements between 2010 and 2014, which totaled $146,600. Lastly, as for two terminated employee 401(k) amounts, which were misappropriated, these totaled $12,100. Although all losses totaled $158,820, the corporation had to reimburse $165,400 into accounts due to their costs and gains.

We were able to work with the Prosecutor to show extensive mitigation that Ms. N had regarding her life. She was the youngest of two children and experienced a traumatic upbringing. She grew up in significant poverty, and her father was a former Vietnam Marine with PTSD, who was severely alcoholic and was physically and verbally abusive to both her and her mother. She began working at 16 in order to provide for herself and the family. She also was periodically homeless. Eventually, she gave birth to her first daughter when she was 19-years old, and then had three children before she was hired by the corporation.

Her first day on the job, she was a single mother to three and was only being paid $35,000 per year. Shortly after being hired, her mother died, and Ms. N was now responsible to pay all of the funeral costs and other expenses left behind by her mother. Although, none of this is an excuse to steal, it was mitigation. A few months later her father passed away from stage 4 lung cancer approximately one week after this investigation had begun. In addition, her only prior criminal conviction was for a misdemeanor DUI.

Ultimately, the Prosecutor agreed to a plea which included probation with 1 year of prison. Originally, she was facing much higher/longer prison time due to the fact that there were multiple offenses committed on different dates, and the total amount of loss was above $100,000.

Ms. W worked for the Hayden Police Department in Gila County. She was in charge of taking cash pertaining to vehicle impounds, issuing receipts and releasing the vehicles. The Hayden Police Department alleged that money from 30 Impound Hearings, at $150 each, were missing and there were no receipts. All 30 of these impound fees were paid in cash by various citizens, totaling $4,500.

According to detectives, various witnesses claimed that they were told by Ms. W that they must pay in cash. Ultimately, a warrant was issued for charges regarding 8 Counts of Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices. After we were retained, we had the warrant quashed and had the case set to a Case Management Conference. After speaking with the Prosecutor on the case, we informed them that they did not have the following information which would be necessary for a successful prosecution: no clean copy of the Authorization for Release of Impound Vehicle covering the section of the towing and charging checkbox area; no copies of the tow sheets and citations for two particular cases; no copy of the citation in one of the departmental reports; and no copy of the Authorization for Release of Impound Vehicles without Post-it notes covering up vital information. Ultimately, the Prosecutor filed a Motion to Dismiss without Prejudice regarding these charges, which left Ms. W. with a clean record.

Mr. R worked for the Swift Transportation Co. as an Information Technology (IT) Network Engineer. He subsequently formed an additional company known as PGN Solutions and began issuing false invoices to Swift Technology. He also secured credit cards from Swift Technology which allowed him to make other purchases. These purchases were disguised because he had claimed an Affiliation with Aspen Technologies (a legitimate contractor with whom Swift conducted a considerable amount of business). Unfortunately, PGN Solutions was merely a shell-company and was never affiliated with Aspen Technologies.

Ultimately, all of these purchases (combined with a tax liability) came to a total of $2,192,000. We were able to show the Prosecution that there had been no Obstruction of Justice by Mr. R., there had been an acceptance of responsibility and there was true remorse. Mr. R. had a family with young children and had also assisted the Sheriff’s Department with remote mountain rescues in the past. Ultimately, we were able to secure a deal that included restitution and 57 months in prison. If we would have gone to Trial and lost, Mr. R. would have faced potentially the rest of life in prison.

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