There is a gross amount of statistics associated with embezzlement. The crime itself pre-dates history. In America, nearly 80% of all reported embezzlement cases have been caught in the last 35 years. I say, “caught,” as opposed to, “occurred,” because many white collar crimes, like embezzlement, go unnoticed, or the institutions that are victimized don’t involve law enforcement for fear of public scrutiny.
Working at the NYC Laborers Sandhogs’ Union Local 147, Melissa King was the employee benefits manager. In 2002, at the age of 50, she began to embezzle funds from The Local. She transferred money to her own bank account. Over a 7 year period, she embezzled $42 million, purchasing Porsches, over a million dollars in diamonds, a home, vacations, and other luxury items.
Melissa King was eventually caught and fired. A civil suit was filed against her to recoup any of her assets. She was also brought to trial for her crimes, which totaled a possible 115 years, if convicted.
Omar Siddiqui is a migrant Pakistani who worked his way through the ranks of a California-based retailer, Fry’s Electronics. He eventually became Vice President of Merchandising. In 2008, the IRS charged him for running a kickback scheme. They had shown that since the beginning of 2005, Omar had embezzled $65 million.
Omar received the money from the various electronics suppliers and would take upwards of 31% of the deals negotiated, he viewed this as commission. He had created a dummy corporation that he laundered the money through via wire transfers.
Omar had been living quite the double-life as well. He had a gambling problem and was being sued by various Las Vegas casinos for millions of dollars. The company he had set-up to launder money through had been created in the mid-90’s, so its highly likely that he had been embezzling funds since then. The investigators believe this resulted in Omar’s gambling debts reaching upwards of $167 million.
In January of 2009, Omar Siddiqui pleaded not guilty to 5 counts of wire fraud and four counts of money laundering. He fought the charges for two years before pleading guilty in a plea agreement.
In 1973, Jack Doorly was hired by the Ayers family to manage the assets of late industrialists Frederick Ayers. He oversaw the Ayers family fortune for over 100 heirs. In 2006, the Ayers trust fired him when they accidentally discovered some accounting irregularities.
It had been discovered, that for 7 years beginning in 1999 that Jack Doorly was transferring trust funds to his own personal account, using the company credit card for himself, and over-charged for trust services. The whole some equated to $72 million. He was fired in 2006 and the the Ayers family filed a civil suit to recoup losses.
Jack Doorly had worked at another company with one of the Ayers family, and Doorly’s assistant had brought some accounting irregularities to that particular family member. During the civil action, it was discovered that Doorly had been funding an affair with a secretary using Ayers’ trust money.
Four years after being caught, Doorly was found guilty of 12 counts of mail fraud and 4 counts of money laundering. He had to return nearly $20 million in cash and various property assets. He was sentenced to 17 years in prison.
Embezzlement isn’t a crime committed over night. It’s a crime that is committed on a regular basis over many years, on average, four and a half years. The increased frequency of embezzlement cases have been attributed to the new electronic age, the speed and ease in which money now moves. Despite the high-tech nature of today’s business, most embezzlement cases occur by low-tech means, happening methodically over time.
This article was composed by Brian Levesque. Brian is currently studying law at Barry University in Orlando, FL and likes to frequently research law topics and contribute content to the Law Offices of Conan & Herman, P.A. – a criminal defense law firm in Orlando.
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