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FBI investigation leads to embezzlement charges in St. Louis

There are many other white-collar crime charges besides those involving claims of public corruption. After all, embezzlement and various forms of fraud occur both within government and without.

There is no denying, however, that white-collar charges normally receive greater scrutiny when they involve public officials. In a recent St. Louis embezzlement case, for example, two officials from the parks department are accused of using fraudulent invoices to take about $500,000 from the city.

One of the officials was the deputy commissioner of the parks department. The other was the chief of the park rangers.

The charges came in the form of an indictment from a federal grand jury. The indictment alleges that over an eight-year period ending last December, the two officials bilked the city of St. Louis through false invoices.

The two men allegedly used the money they obtained in this way for their personal use. They did so, the indictment contends, by creating a sham company through which to channel the funds.

The city received assistance from the FBI in investigating the officials. An internal city investigation has now begun as well, focusing on the workplace disciplinary process.

According to the allegations, the two officials began embezzling funds as far back as 2005. It is not clear from media accounts of the case when the FBI began its investigation.

But white-collar investigations often require considerable review of many financial documents. In this respect, embezzlement and fraud cases are quite different than many other types of criminal cases. With white-collar offenses, the target of an investigation may become aware of it long before an arrest occurs.

Source: Source: "St. Louis Parks Officials Indicted on Fraud Charges, Allegedly Embezzled Funds for Years," Riverfront Times, Sam Levin, May 16, 2013

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