The following is a summary of the latest news about accountants, both public and private, whose careers have taken a turn for the worse.
Eric Bernard Caldwell, of Montgomery County, AL, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in the Middle District of Alabama on charges of conspiracy and theft of government funds, according to a joint announcement by the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Caldwell was charged with conspiring to defraud the United States by filing false claims and also charged with one count of theft of government funds. According to the indictment, Caldwell was part of a conspiracy that filed false tax returns using stolen identities. If convicted, Caldwell faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of $500,000.
Kim Woods of Dallas, TX, formerly an accountant for a property management company in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, was arrested recently in Pleasant Hills, PA after fleeing his home more than two years ago. Woods, 58, is accused of embezzling more than $300,000 from the company for which he was a contractor and has been arrested on five felony counts of forgery and one count of theft aggregate. Evidence suggests that Woods embezzled the funds by writing checks made out to himself. Authorities were able to track him through his participation in an online dating service and subsequent relationship with a women met on that service.
Maria Garda-Knoche, 37, of Robinson, PA, has been arrested on charges of stealing more than $1.38 million from Allegheny Forensic Associates and Allegheny Psychological Services, two companies for which she was solely responsible for performing accounting services. Garda-Knoche is accused of writing business checks to herself and to her boss, and cashing both types of checks herself. In addition, she is accused of using a business debit card for personal expenses and for giving herself unauthorized raises. Investigation determined that, among other things, Garda-Knoche gave $6,500 of company funds to a car dealership to purchase a vehicle for herself, used company funds to pay her sister's telephone bill, her student loans, and a Sears bill belonging to her boyfriend.