May 4th 2010
An accountant from Kalamazoo, Michigan, has been sentenced to pay $3 million in restitution and to serve five to 20 years in prison for embezzlement from clients.
An attorney representing one of the victims of Wesley C. Vande Streek, 53, called him “a predator of the worst kind,” during sentencing April 26th in Kalamazoo County Circuit Court on four counts of embezzlement, the Kalamazoo Gazette reported.
Victims also spoke. Steve Morgan, the son of Carol Morgan who lost almost $1.1 million, told the judge that Vande Streek called his parents “mom and dad,” and visited them regularly. “He has done his best to ruin my mother's life.” Morgan's father died in 2006 after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. “This has been a great betrayal,” Carol Morgan said.
The newspaper quoted Allan Lapekas, whose mother lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to Vande Streek: “You are the scum that Tidy Bowl cleaner can't reach,” he said. “You make [convicted Ponzi schemer] Bernie Madoff look good. I don't remember hearing about him going to old-folks homes to rip the elderly off.”
WWMT TV News reported that most of the victims were ill and elderly. State police say he lost more than $2.5 million in day trading.
Vande Streek in January pleaded no contest to two counts of embezzlement of $100,000 or more and one count each of embezzlement of $20,000 to $50,000 and of $1,000 to $20,000. Five other counts of embezzlement were dismissed as part of a plea agreement, the newspaper reported.