Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

Baton Rouge man facing embezzlement charges

"Desperate times can make for desperate men" goes the old saying. The president of as homeowners association has told authorities that a gambling addiction caused him to engineer a white collar crime to the detriment of his own neighbors.

Recently arrested and charged with 10 counts of felony theft, the man, who had been in a position of trust, was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison and released on a $10,000 bond a short time later.

Allegedly, while serving as president for a period of seven months, the head man cashed 10 checks from the association's bank account. He attempted to cover his tracks by telling the association's vice-president that he had "accidentally" closed the association's account and was using his own business account to write checks to cover the association's bills.

The 10 checks in question unfortunately had nothing to do with the association's business and were in amounts ranging from $1,800 to $5,000 -- for a total of around $29,000.

As in many cases of white collar crime and fraud, the plan, scheme or design of the perpetrator did not go unnoticed by the victims. The new interim president announced in a press release that earlier in the year, there began to be suspicions among some members of the board about the integrity of the funds belonging to the association, the lack of transparency relating to expenditures and inconsistencies in the explanations from the former president now under suspicion. By June 4, 2013, the board asked for and received the resignation of the former president.

The association's board also recognized at the time that what they were dealing with was not a civil matter but a criminal one. The affair was turned over to the police for investigation and a forensic accountant was able to reconstruct the series of unlawful takings from the association's account and place them under the dominion and control of the defendant.

Meanwhile, the association has been able to recover sufficient funds that the principal operations of the business entity -- security patrols in the neighborhood -- could continue. The interim president voiced hope that there would be some restitution in the future. Indeed, in any white collar offense, restitution is uppermost on the mind of the accused's defense counsel, knowing that quickly undoing the harm to the victim is the best mitigation around -- a device that often keeps the client out of jail.

RedStickNow.com, "Baton Rouge Man Accused of Stealing $29,000 from Civic Association Account" No author given, Jul. 26, 2013

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