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Insider Threat Incident Postings As Of September 21, 2020

Former Bookkeeper Sentenced To Prison For Embezzling $370,000 From Employer – September 18, 2020
From approximately August 2016 to August 2018, Lydia Cabrera was employed by A2Z Home Medical Supplies (A2Z) as a bookkeeper. As part of her job responsibilities, Cabrera was given access to A2Z’s online merchant payment system. Approximately 10 days after being hired by A2Z, Cabrera began to use A2Z’s online merchant payment system to steal from the company by falsely representing that customers of A2Z had sought a return of their funds. On approximately 272 occasions, Cabrera input her personal debit card information as the card to which the funds should be returned. Through this scheme, Cabrera embezzled approximately $370,000.

Prior to working for A2Z, Cabrera worked as a bookkeeper for a home health care aid company. Between April 2015 and July 2016, Cabrera stole approximately $68,000 from the company. This fraud scheme was prosecuted in state court. In advance of her sentencing in this matter, Cabrera submitted to the state court fictitious character letters from A2Z colleagues in an attempt to obtain leniency at sentencing.


Former Financial Controller Sentenced To Prison For Embezzling $580,000+ From Employer – September 18, 2020
According to court documents and statements made in court, between 2013 and 2018, Pamela Hill embezzled more than $500,000 from a company where she was employed as a controller. Hill wrote company checks to herself, applied signature stamps with the owner’s signature to the checks, and deposited the checks into her own bank account. She also issued electronic payments to her bank account and disguised the payments to make them appear to payments to vendors. When the company’s CFO questioned Hill about a vendor payment in December 2018, Hill provided the CFO with an altered bank statement that falsely reflected the payment had been credited back to the company’s account.


Former Finance Company Employee Sentenced To Prison For $1.6+ Million Of Bank Fraud – September 18, 2020
Dean Flake was employed for nearly 35 years as an Accounts Payable Processor at a finance company. In 2019, he began forging signatures on checks drawn on the company’s checking account and depositing them in his own account.

By the time his scheme was detected, Flake had stolen more than $1.6 million from his employer. The government identified, seized and forfeited $975,138.79 from the scheme, and after his arrest Flake admitted to stealing the money to feed a gambling addiction.


Former Marine / State Trooper Charged In Conspiracy To Steal, Sell And Ship Government Property – September 17, 2020
Rafael Montalvo, is a former Individual Material Readiness List (IMRL) Manager aboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, NC, and a current Illinois State Trooper and member of the Illinois National Guard. He conspired with others in and outside the State of North Carolina to steal government-owned avionics and electronic testing equipment from multiple Marine Aviation Squadrons, and ship the stolen goods interstate to buyers located in other states. The conspiracy, alleged to have occurred between March 2018 and the present, is described as having used IMRL managers with access to the avionics equipment to steal from the military installations, and then either ship directly to Montalvo or to persons whom Montalvo directed. Montalvo received payment from the buyer, and paid those who reportedly stole the equipment for him.


Former General Counsel And Chief Business Officer Charged With Embezzling Funds From Employer – September 17, 2020
From January 2018 until July 2019, Solis was the General Counsel and then Chief Business Officer of a financial technology company registered to do business in the State of California. While employed with the technology company, Solis telecommuted from her home in Austin to her employer’s principal place of business in San Francisco.

Solis allegedly diverted funds from her employer and paid the diverted funds to shell companies and entities controlled by Solis and her husband. For example, Solis controlled a shell company named The Paralegal Group LLC. The company was incorporated in Delaware and Solis was listed as the sole member. Bank records and additional vendor records identify Solis as the person controlling The Paralegal Group. The complaint alleges Solis submitted fraudulent invoices in the name of The Paralegal Group and then arranged for her employer to pay the invoices to the shell company. According to the complaint, there is no evidence The Paralegal Group ever provided any services to Solis’s employer and certain records typically associated with running a true business do not exist for The Paralegal Group.

In another aspect of the embezzlement scheme, Solis used super administrative privileges to receive an illegitimate reimbursement payment from her employer. The super administrative privileges had been granted by her employer to assist Solis to exercise her legitimate job responsibilities. Nevertheless, Solis used the privileges to improperly submit and approve payment for expenses without review from other employees or executives working for the employer. For example, in July of 2019, two days after Solis’s employment was terminated, she submitted a personal expense of $4,575 for “Jackson and Oliver boarding.” In this example, Solis self-approved expenses for 61 days of dog boarding. The criminal complaint explains that Solis used her access to her employer’s expense approval software even after her employment was terminated and, as of the signing of the complaint, no records for the boarding company


Former Medical Practice Office Manager Sentenced For Stealing Controlled Substances – September 17, 2020
Kristy Brucz was an employee and office manager for a physician. In that position, Brucz was given access to the physician’s prescription pad and a New York State issued controlled substance electronic prescribing hard token and its related passwords, which allowed Brucz to issue prescriptions, and submit them to pharmacies, on the physician’s behalf.

Between 2015 and March 2018, Brucz, without the physician’s authorization, issued, or caused to be issued, 166 fraudulent prescriptions using the physician’s name, the physician’s prescription pad, and prescribing token. The prescriptions were issued in either Brucz’s name, the names of associates, or fictitious individuals. The defendant then filled the prescriptions, totaling approximately 11,885 dosage units, from various local pharmacies, and diverted them for her personal use. The controlled substances included hydrocodone and oxycodone.


Former Chief Financial Officer For City Of Atlanta’s Charged With Financial Fraud And Possessing Machine Guns – September 16, 2020
From approximately November 2011 to May 2018, Jim Beard served as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the City of Atlanta. As CFO, Beard directed and managed the Department of Finance. In that capacity, Beard listed his primary responsibility as the oversight and management of the City’s financial condition.

Between August 2013 and March 2018, Beard devised and executed a scheme to defraud to obtain money and property from the City of Atlanta for private use, including using City of Atlanta funds: (1) to pay for personal travel expenses for himself, his family, and his travel companions; (2) to buy items for personal use, including two machine guns; (3) to pay for travel to conferences or meetings for which the conference or meeting host reimbursed Beard, but Beard kept the money and did not give the reimbursement funds to the City of Atlanta; and (4) to pay for travel that Beard subsequently claimed to the IRS were travel expenses related to his sole proprietorship consulting work that Beard never disclosed to the City of Atlanta on any Financial Disclosure Statement.


Former Senior Veterans Affairs Official Charged For Soliciting / Accepting Bribes – September 16, 2020
Ralph Johnson was the Chief of Environmental Management Services at the Corporal Michael J. Cresenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in Philadelphia, PA. He was charged for soliciting and accepting bribes in connection with contracts and purchase orders at the medical center.

Johnson was responsible for a range of sanitation, waste removal, linen and uniform services for the VAMC, and participated in the solicitation and award of contracts to vendors for those services. According to the Indictment, Johnson is charged with asking for, and receiving, thousands of dollars in cash from two Florida-based companies in return for steering purchase orders and contracts to those companies several times from about July 2018 until August 2019. He is also charged with seeking a $10,000 kickback on an $84,000 contract for tree trimming and removal awarded to one of those vendors, for which Johnson had fraudulently and grossly inflated the estimate of the work to be done and the price for that work under the contract.


Former Financial Controller Sentenced To Prison For Embezzlement Of $823,000+ From Employer – September 16, 2020
Leslie Clark was hired as a financial controller at a Tulsa company in 2014. As controller, she supervised all financial matters, including contracting, billing and paying vendors. In July 2018, Clark created a fictitious consulting company, opened an account for it, and caused her employer to pay for fabricated services never rendered. Clark falsely and fraudulently told colleagues at the company that the payments were for consulting services and presented false and fraudulent invoices from her fictitious company in support of her scheme.


Former DEA Agent And Wife Plead Guilty To $9 Million+ 7 Year Scheme That Diverted Drug Proceeds From Undercover Money Laundering Investigations – September 15, 2020
Jose Irizarry and his wife Nathalia Irizarry admitted to participating in a 7 year scheme to divert over $9 million in drug proceeds from undercover money laundering investigations into bank accounts that they and co-conspirators controlled.

Jose Irizarry filed for personal bankruptcy protection in December of 2010. As part of his plea, he admitted that soon after his bankruptcy was filed he began to exploit his position of public trust as a special agent to divert funds from undercover DEA money laundering investigations to himself and to co-conspirators. Diverted funds were then used to purchase jewelry, luxury cars, and a home. The scheme lasted throughout Irizarry’s assignments to the DEA’s Miami Field Division and to its office in Cartagena, Colombia. Irizarry resigned from the DEA in January of 2018.

Irizarry further admitted that he and his criminal associates opened a bank account with a stolen identity and then utilized the account to secretly send and receive drug proceeds from active DEA investigations. Gomez-Irizarry admitted that she allowed her bank accounts and a Florida corporation in her name to be used in the scheme. By his own admission, Irizarry was in personal bankruptcy proceedings for nearly the duration of his criminal conduct and failed to disclose any of his illicit income to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.


Former Purchasing Agent And Wife Plead Guilty To $6 Million Embezzlement Scheme – September 15, 2020
Morris Cooper was a purchasing agent assigned to the Operations and Maintenance Division, Directorate of Public Works (DPW), at Fort Bragg, NC and entrusted to purchase HVAC parts for DPW’s HVAC maintenance section. From 2011 into 2019, Cooper used his position as a purchasing agent at DPW, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, to conspire with vendors to unlawfully enrich the participants of the conspiracy by steering contracts for supplies to specific vendors in return for cash payments and gifts, and by inflating prices on supplies, increasing both the profits to the vendor and the cash payment made to Cooper and/or his wife, Beverley Cooper.


Former Employee At Los Alamos National Laboratory Receives Probation For Making False Statements About Being Employed By China Thousand Talents Program – September 15, 2020
Turab Lookman was sentenced to 5 years of probation and a $75,000 fine for providing a false statement to the Department of Energy.

On June 6, 2018, Lookman, then an employee at Los Alamos National Laboratory, falsely denied to a counterintelligence officer that he had been recruited or applied for a job with the Thousand Talents Program, established by the Chinese government to recruit individuals with access to or knowledge of foreign technology and intellectual property.


Former IT Specialist Sentenced To Prison For Selling $562,000+ Worth Of Company Tech Equipment – September 12, 2020
A former technology specialist (Daniel Burdick) worked at the Center For Toxicology And Environmental Health, from June 27, 2007, until he was fired on Nov. 5, 2017.

Burdick admitted that he and another man, both of whom were responsible for ordering new cellphones for employees and subcontractors, obtained new phones and tablets through a contract carrier and kept them for themselves.

Burdick and the other employee, Brian Terell, admitted that they then sold the equipment over the internet, taking in more than half a million dollars in profit all together between June 2013 and November 2017.

Both men were paid by customers through PayPal or Western Union. They mailed the majority of the new devices to Oregon for eventual delivery to people in China.

At the time, Burdick was making an annual salary of $73,000 before bonuses, while Lamb was paid $65,000 to $70,000 with overtime, also before bonuses, as a LAN/ desktop specialist. Lamb had worked at the company since Sept. 12, 2011, and was fired the same day as Burdick, according to court documents.


Former Financial Controller Sentenced To Prison For $8.7 Million Embezzlement Scheme – September 10, 2020
According to information presented to the court, Sue O’Neill, while employed as the Controller for Marco Contractors, Inc., embezzled approximately $8.7 million over the course of nine years. The Court was further advised that she and another individual started a company called Bulldog Contractors LLC and used approximately $6.7 million of the stolen money to fund the business. The other $2 million in embezzled funds went into her personal bank account. O’Neill and her business partner used the stolen funds for business expenses and for personal use. Among other things, the Court was advised that they purchased two 1969 Ford Shelby GT500s for approximately $160,000 each and spent approximately $163,000 renovating a 1969 Ford Mustang. O’Neill further spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on jewelry and a country club membership. Lastly, the Court was advised that O’Neill filed false income tax returns because she did not declare the stolen funds as taxable income.


Former Employee Pleads Guilty To Stealing $189,000 From Tech Company – September 9, 2020
Andrew Wolniak was a system administrator for Qintel from September 2013 until he was fired in August 2018, when it became clear he was fraudulently using a company credit card.

The firm issued credit cards to 35 of its employees, but Wolniak was not among them. The company’s CEO, William Schambura, did not trust him due to his impulse buying.

In August 2018, Mr. Schambura noticed thousands of dollars in purchases made on Amazon. Upon investigating the matter, Mr. Schambura found nearly $136,000 in fraudulent purchases, the complaint says, some including car parts and accessories. Wolniak owned a car-tuning company called SkeyyyTuning in Shaler.

The complaint also says Wolniak stole over two dozen iPhones from Qintel, iPads, Apple TVs and laptops that were also taken from the company’s inventory. Wolniak bought items with stolen Qintel funds and sold them for more than $11,000.


Former School Superintendent Charged With Embezzlement Of $42,000+ – September 8, 2020
Paul Durand is the former superintendent for the Rockford School District, a position he held between 2010 and 2019.

An investigation into unusual spending on a district-issued credit card was sparked after the district’s auditor found it had been used to buy two Apple watches, home security monitoring equipment, a vehicle dash cam, and other items not customary for district business.

Further investigation allegedly found that Durand had bought new laptops every 18 months outside of the usual procurement process for school district equipment, and that he had failed to complete forms for many of his credit card purchases, as required by the district.

When confronted about it, Durand claimed he did have his own tech budget. Nonetheless he was placed on administrative leave in October 2019 as the investigation continued. He resigned in November.

Further analysis found that Durand’s alleged spending with the card covered 192 items between 2010 and 2019 that were not “business related or authorized by law.”

It totaled $42,651, with purchases including more than $3,800 on fuel, despite receiving a monthly stipend for vehicle usage worth $650, with other purchases including an underwater camera, a FitBit, and an Amazon Echo.

This entry was posted on Monday, September 21st, 2020 at 8:22 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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