A federal grand jury in Charlotte returned a federal criminal indictment last week, charging 55-year-old Richard Allen Clark of Lenoir with federal offenses arising from the alleged embezzlement of more than $1 million from his former employer. The announcement was made by Andrew Murray, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. The federal charges include mail fraud, money laundering and filing false tax returns. Clark had his initial appearance in court Monday (February 22) before U.S. Magistrate Judge David C. Keesler.
According to allegations in the criminal bill of indictment, beginning January 1, 2013 through May 31, 2019, Clark was employed as an office manager for two family owned businesses in Lenoir. As an office manager, Clark was responsible for, among other things, handling the companies’ bookkeeping and financial records, making payments to vendors and the IRS, and reconciling the companies’ bank accounts. As the indictment alleges, Clark used his position and his access to the companies’ financial records and bank accounts to embezzle more than $1 million from his employers.
According to allegations in the indictment, Clark embezzled money from his employers in a number of ways. In some instances, the indictment alleges, Clark created company checks payable to himself and falsified the entries in financial records. Clark also allegedly diverted to himself company payments to IRS that were supposed to cover payroll taxes. In addition, indictment also alleges that Clark stole money from a company bank account the owner had directed Clark to close. Instead of closing the account, Clark allegedly used it to steal from his employer, by instructing customers to make payments to that account and then diverting the funds for his personal use.
According to allegations in the indictment, Clark used the stolen funds to pay for his personal lifestyle, including to make payments for his home mortgage, to make auto loan payments for an F-150 truck and other vehicles, to install a home theater system, and to pay for traveling and shopping expenses, among other things. During the relevant period, Clark allegedly failed to claim the additional income he stole on his IRS tax returns.
The indictment alleges that in addition to his earned wages, Clark moved over $1 million from his employers into various personal bank accounts he controlled. It is alleged that Clark falsely declared only his legitimate W-2 income on his 2014 through 2018 U.S. Joint Income Tax Returns, resulting in approximately $195,000 in lost taxes to the United States.
Clark is charged with five counts of mail fraud affecting a financial institution, which carry a maximum prison term of 30 years in prison and a $ 1 million fine per count; five counts of making and subscribing a false return, which carry a maximum term of three years in prison and a $100,000 fine per count; and one count of money laundering, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
The Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office is among the agencies involved in the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Savage of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte is prosecuting the case.