Lake County woman charged with embezzling from Heights bank account

7:16 PM, Mar 15, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- A one-count criminal information was filed Friday charging a Willoughby Hills woman with embezzling more than $650,000 in federal funds, said U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach.

Theresa E. Medsker, 51, is accused of embezzling approximately $654,192 in federal funds while working as the bookkeeper for the Schnurmann House in Mayfield Heights.

Schnurmann House is a non-profit, inter-denominational housing community consisting of 198 apartments for individuals age 62 and over that receives a substantial portion of its funding from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The information charges that from on or about December 28, 2005 through on or about January 10, 2012, Medsker controlled Schnurmann House's bank accounts, and issued fraudulent checks from these accounts to herself.

Because all of the Schnurmann House checks required two signatures, one from the executive director and one from the administrative assistant, Medsker forged the signature of the executive director on the checks and presented them to the administrative assistant, who signed them believing that the executive director had already approved the checks, according to the information.

Then, Medsker cashed and deposited the Schnurmann House checks into her personal bank accounts.

In order to conceal her theft of funds from the Schnurmann House, Medsker altered and falsified the Schnurmann House's monthly bank statements by physically cutting and pasting vendor checks on top of the checks she wrote to herself, and making counterfeit copies of the bank statements, according to the information.

Medsker then submitted the altered bank statements to the executive director and the board as Schnurmann House's official financial records, according to the information.

Over the course of the fraud, Medsker deposited approximately 300 Schnurmann House checks made payable to her into her personal accounts totaling approximately $654,192, according to the information.

"This defendant was in a position of trust, and the charge lays out behavior that is a clear violation of that trust," Dettelbach said.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark S. Bennett, following an investigation by the Cleveland Office of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, and the City of Mayfield Heights Police Department.


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