Webster enters plea to embezzling chargesA Solon Springs man faces sentencing in November for embezzling more than $130,000 from his employer, Great Lakes Pipe Service Inc., over a three-year period.
By: Superior Telegram, Superior Telegram
A Solon Springs man faces sentencing in November for embezzling more than $130,000 from his employer, Great Lakes Pipe Service Inc., over a three-year period.
Michael Leroy Webster, 62, pleaded no contest last week in Douglas County Circuit Court to felony counts of identity theft-financial gain and theft in a business setting. He faces a combined maximum penalty of up to 16 years imprisonment and a fine of not more than $35,000.
According to the criminal complaint:
Financial problems at the business were discovered in January 2011. Owner Dave Sigfrids learned Webster had opened an account at a local bank in 2007 without authorization.
A review of the business’ financial transactions from Jan. 1, 2007, to Jan. 31, 2011, showed about $192,000 in unauthorized payments, including $40,000 funneled through the unauthorized account.
Superior Police Detective Michael Jaszczak interviewed Webster, who admitted he would deposit checks written out to the business into the unauthorized account and either withdrew money or transferred it to his own personal account.
Webster told Jaszczak that more than $12,000 in direct payments to credit card companies were most likely for his internet sex habit and online pornography, as was much of what was funneled through the unauthorized bank account.
He also said that during three months in 2010 when he was supposed to be taking a pay cut, he paid himself another check to make up for it.
Even after taking into account items on the list of transactions, Webster claimed were either all or a percentage of legitimate business expenses, the missing money totaled between $132,000 and $137,000. Webster was amazed at the amount being over $130,000.
According to Sigfrids the business originally had a bookkeeper, but Webster took over those duties around 2007, first doing quarterlies, then taxes and audits.