Category Archives: Embezzlement

Former Treasurer Sentenced for Embezzlement

Leland Ray Kolkmeyer, the former treasurer of a northwest Missouri town’s fire and road districts, has been sentenced to three years in prison without parole for embezzling more than $1.5 million. United States District Judge Gary A. Fenner also ordered Kolkmeyer, who has already paid $1 million in restitution, to pay an additional $530,159. The sentence was announced on Monday afternoon and Kolkmeyer must surrender to federal authorities and begin serving his sentence on August 7. 2014.

Kolkmeyer, 58, of Wellington, Mo., pleaded guilty on November 20, 2013 to two counts of federal mail fraud and admitted to a total theft of $1,530,159.  He resigned from his positions as the treasurer to the road and fire districts in February of last year after serving 15 years.

The government alleges that Kolkmeyer fraudulently transferred $939,485 from the road district’s bank accounts, and $590,674 from the fire district’s bank accounts, to his own personal accounts or to pay bills on his behalf. It is also believed that he used his position as treasurer of the districts to make false statements and material omissions concerning the stolen funds.

According to court documents, Kolkmeyer used the stolen money to for home improvements, vehicles, and weddings for his children.  He told investigators that he never declared any of the stolen income to the Internal Revenue Service.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Paul S. Becker.

City Clerk Charged with Embezzlement

Antoinette Chenier, a clerk for the Chicago Department of Transportation, has been charged with embezzlement after allegedly stealing more than $741,000 in permit fee money.  Authorities arrested Chenier on Wednesday and she made her initial court appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Shiela Finnigan that afternoon.  Judge Finnigan allowed Chenier to remain free without posting bond.

Chenier, 50, has been a clerk in the city transportation department’s permitting office since 1990 and is involved with the processing of moving van and dumpster permit fees.  According to the affidavit filed with the complaint, Chenier opened a personal bank account in August 2008 and a business account at the same bank in March of 2009 under the name OEMC Chenier.  She allegedly “deposited several hundred checks” between 2008 and January 2014 written by companies to pay their fees.  Federal investigators report that $59,667 was deposited into her personal account and $681,632 into the “OEMC Chenier” account.

Bank officials froze both accounts earlier in the year after noticing what they considered to be “unusual banking activity”.  When questioned by a bank employee in January, Chenier reportedly asked the teller “not to report this,” court documents state.  “Please don’t call the check makers, I will lose my job,” Chenier allegedly told the bank employee.

Embezzlement charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and fines up to $250,000. Chenier is scheduled to appear in court again on April 15th for a status hearing.

Former School Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Embezzlement

Todd Ryan Frazier, 31, entered a guilty plea in federal district court to an indictment charging him with embezzlement and theft from the Carterville School District.  Frazier was fired from the school in February of 2012 after an audit revealed that he defrauded the school district over a four year period while he held positions as the school treasurer and payroll officer.

The following 16 counts were included in the original indictment:

  • Counts 1-3, embezzlement and theft from the Carterville School District—a unit of local government that received federal funds;
  • Counts 4-13, wire fraud in furtherance of a scheme to defraud the Carterville School District;
  • Count 14, false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation;
  • Count 15, attempting to access a computer of a financial institution without authorization;
  • Count 16, uttering a forged check of the Carterville School District

Frazier initially pleaded not guilty to embezzlement, theft, forgery, wire fraud, lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and attempting to access computer files at the Bank of Herrin. However, on Thursday he admitted to pocketing between $70,000 and $140,000 in the fiscal year ending in June of 2010.

Todd Frazier will be sentenced on May 8, 2014.  The offense carries a total statutory maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and mandatory restitution.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Norman R. smith.

Bank Teller Sentenced for Embezzlement

Margaret Marie Sheese, 54, has been sentenced to 14 months in prison for embezzling nearly $70,000 from a Mason City bank.  She must also serve five years of supervised release and pay nearly $72,000 in restitution to the victim bank and its fraud insurer.  The sentence was passed down in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Chief Judge Linda R. Reade.

In her plea agreement, Sheese admitting to stealing $69,200 from Northwoods State Bank, in Mason City, between October 2011 and January 2013.  While working as a teller, Sheese made 29 secret withdrawals from accounts belonging to a particular customer of the bank.  To cover up her fraud, she altered the bank’s records to falsely show that the bank customer’s mailing address had changed to a Post Office Box that she controlled.  Sheese ensured that the customer’s account statements were delivered to her instead of the customer’s residence.

Sheese also admitted on January 15, 2013, to stealing $2,000 in cash from the bank.

Margaret Sheese was released on the bond previously set and is to surrender to the United States Marshals Services on December 16, 2013.

This case was investigated by the Mason City Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant United States Attorney Peter Deegan prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.

Savannah Woman Sentenced for Embezzlement

Janeen Lynette Davis, 33, has been sentenced to more than four years in a federal prison for embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from an elderly couple living in Savannah, GA.  United States District Judge William T. Moore also ordered Davis to pay $67,467.38 in restitution and serve five years of supervised released after her prison sentence concludes.     As part of the plea agreement, Davis had earlier pleaded guilty to charges of bank fraud and aggravated identification theft.

According to a press release, Davis worked as a caregiver for the elderly couple which allowed her to gain access to the couple’s finances.  Prosecutors say that in one year’s time, Davis was able to embezzle almost $70,000 from personal bank accounts without their knowledge.

“This defendant took advantage of an elderly couple who, at this point in their lives, should be enjoying the fruits of their years of hard work. The United States Attorney’s Office and its law enforcement partners will aggressively investigate and pursue charges against those who seek to take advantage of the vulnerable members of our society, “ said United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver.

James Durham, Department of Justice for the Southern District of Georgia Spokesman, noted that Janeen Lynette Davis had a lengthy criminal history and had been previously convicted of numerous other financial crimes across the country.

Princeville Mayor Indicted on Embezzlement Charges

Priscilla Everette-Oates, the mayor in Princeville, NC, was indicted by an Edgecombe County grand jury Tuesday on 17 counts of embezzlement by a public official.  She turned herself in to State Bureau of Investigation agents in Tarboro on Wednesday and was released later on a $7,500 unsecured bond.

The indictment alleges that she spent nearly $5,600 in taxpayer money on expenses unrelated to town business.  According to court records, these charges included restaurant tabs, travel expenses, and late payment fees.  Oates’ attorney, Malvern King, announced that his client would not plead guilty and “she intends … to prove her innocence in court.”

The charges stem from a State Bureau of Investigation audit in 2012 that revealed Everette-Oates made 133 charges that totaled over $13,000 on the towns credit card from 2010-2012.  The mayor’s card included $8,000 worth of expenses that did not include proper documentation.  In April, District Attorney Robert Evans called on the SBI to investigate the improper spending activity that was found in the audit.  The report also questioned $3,307 in travel reimbursement expenditures that Everette-Oates received.

The state seized control of Princeville’s finances in July 2012 and still manages its money under an agency called the Local Government Commission.  Princeville, who also had its finances taken over in 1997, is the only North Carolina municipality to be taken over twice by the Local Government Commission.

Everette-Oates continues to deny these embezzlement charges and even accused state officials of trying to frame her according to a local newspaper.

Church Paster Charged with Embezzlement

Chris Allen Phillips, a pastor at Mechanicsville Advent Christian Church, was arrested and charged with felony embezzlement on March 25, 2013.  He is being accused of embezzling over $80,000 from his own church in Hanover County.  Phillips was released on a $6,000 personal recognizance bond and was ordered to return for his court appearance on June 5th.  An elder of the church reported that Chris Phillips has gone on a leave of absence without pay as the church’s youth pastor.

Phillips has also been linked to the arrest of Tonya Farnsworth.    An ongoing investigation alleges that some of the embezzled funds were used in an attempt to cover up a sex scandal involving Farnsworth.  According to the Richard Times-Dispatch, court documents allege Phillips paid Farnsworth $200 for oral sex last December.

The dates of the church embezzlement align with the dates that Hanover investigators allege in a search warrant that a male victim of Farnsworth received instructions “five to seven days a week from early January 2013 to late March 2013” to place money in a black Lincoln Navigator.  The vehicle is still in the front yard of Farnsworth’s home on West End Drive in Henrico according to the warrant.

Hanover authorities say the investigation is still ongoing.

Human Resources Manager Charged with Embezzlement

Jacqueline R. Fox, 44, has been charged with embezzling more than $1 million from the Milwaukee scrap recycling company that she worked for over the last six years.  The practice might have continued indefinitely if not for the misreading of a pay envelope by an employee last summer.

Fox, who began working at United Milwaukee Scrap in 2005, authorized direct deposits in the names of seven former employees to bank accounts that she controlled for a total of $996,689.  Charges indicate that she also made unauthorized payment to herself for another $12,944. When confronted by the state Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation, Fox initially admitted only to the thefts in the name of former employee Jose Aguilera. She claimed the scheme started in 2010 when her husband kicked her and her children out of their home.  Fox also told investigators that the money was primarily used to support her paralyzed mother and pay for her daughter’s school tuition.

Further investigation turned up the false payments in six other former employee’s names.  Each was using a different bank account and the payments dated as far back as 2006.  Investigators also found evidence that Fox made frequent large withdrawals from an automated teller machine at a local bingo casino.

Susan Paprcka, a spokeswoman for United Milwaukee Scrap, said the company would not comment on the ongoing case.

Fox faces six counts of theft by fraud over $10,000, one for each year’s worth of charged embezzlement. The maximum penalty for each count is five years in prison, five years of extended supervision, and a $25,000 fine.  She made her initial court appearance on Monday, April 8th.

Brentwood Man Gets 5 Year Sentence for Embezzlement

Benjamin Chaney, 33, has been sentenced to five years in prison by Yolo County Superior Court Judge Stephen Mock for embezzling money from his employer, a Davis-based firm.  The Brentwood man was convicted of grand theft, embezzlement, one “aggravated white collar crime” enhancement, and two counts of state income tax evasion relating to the theft from his employer.

Chaney had been employed by his mother and father-in-law at Harper Model Home Maintenance where he was their chief financial officer.  Between 2003 and 2007, he embezzled over $500,000 from his employer by paying for his personal expenses with corporate funds and altering the records to cover the fraud.  The unauthorized purchases included: gifts, child-support payments, computers, furniture, appliances, and mortgage payments.  He also used the money to buy assets for a competing business he intended to start.  Chaney, who already was earning a six figure salary, failed to claim the income on his tax returns for 2006 and 2007.

Mock ordered Chaney to pay more than $340,000 in restitution to his former employer and more than $67,000 to the state.  The judge also sentence Chaney’s wife, Kara Brown, to three years of felony probation for acting as an accessory to her husband’s thefts.

The case was prosecuted by Yolo County Deputy District Attorney Ryan Couzens.  It was also a joint investigation with the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) Criminal Investigation Unit.

Former Alabama Mayor Convicted of Embezzlement

The former Mayor of River Falls Alabama pled guilty to charges that she stole over $200,000 from River Falls. Mary Ella Hixon, 91, paid hush money to multiple individuals over her thirty year career as Mayor to keep her embezzlement scheme secret.

Earlier last week Hixon resigned from her post after accepting the charges. She was originally sentenced to 10 years in prison for her crimes, but Judge Ashley McKathan reduced the sentence to only 5 years on probation because of Hixon’s age.

A spokesperson for the Covington County District Attorney  said that if it weren’t for Hixon’s age, she would have probably been incarcerated for much longer.

Although Judge McKathan did not send the disgraced mayor to prison, he did order that she pay back all the money taken in her years as mayor. The judge required that her estate be held responsible for repaying $201,610 to River Falls even after Hixon passes away.

Hixon’s attorney explained to reporters that many factors led to her decisions to transfer public funds to her relatives and Richard Moss, a man she lived with. Her attorney said that she was being taken advantage of by people she trusted.

The investigation began when the city sold property to Richard Moss, who was living with Hixon at the time and has  been arrested for similar charges. Later, Hixon was caught on an audio recording admitting to the illegal activity and bribing a witness with $525 to keep quiet.

Although Hixon resigned from her post after receiving these charges, she had served as one of the longest terms as mayor in Alabama history. In fact, prior to her arrest Hixon was re-elected in August earlier this year to serve another term.