of 1

CHAPTER 9: Conversion Investigation Methods

Published on February 2018 | Categories: Legal forms | Downloads: 2 | Comments: 0
20 views

TO THE STUDENT The Phar-Mor case at the beginning of this chapter is a classic fraud case that you should know. As you read this case and the rest of the chapter, consider ways in which fraudsters spend the money they embezzle. If you had a seemingly easy source of money, where would you spend it? Where would those you know spend it? How would you as an investigator discover these purchases? LEARNING OBJECTIVES After studying this chapter, you should be able to: Explain why it is important to discover how perpetrators convert and spend stolen funds. Understand how federal, state, and local public records can assist in following the financial “tracks” of suspected perpetrators. Access information via the Internet to assist in the investigation of a suspected fraud perpetrator. Perform net worth calculations on suspected fraud perpetrators and understand how net worth calculations are effective in court and in obtaining confessions. Phar-Mor, a dry goods retailer based in Youngstown, Ohio, was founded in 1982 by Mickey Monus.1 Within 10 years, Phar-Mor was operating in nearly every state of the United States, with over 300 stores in total. As a low-cost leader, the retailer’s business strategy was to sell household products and prescription drugs at lower prices than other department stores. PharMor’s prices were so low and expansion so fast that even Wal-Mart—the king of discount prices —was nervous. Unfortunately, what appeared to be one of the fastest-growing companies in the United States was actually a massive fraud; the company never made a legitimate profit during the fraud years. Investigators eventually determined that Phar-Mor overstated revenues by over $500 million, and Mickey Monus personally pocketed several million dollars. Monus loved the good life and was often found in the middle of the action. For example, he diverted $10 million from revenues to fund a now-defunct minor league basketball venture. He also provided a portion of the original money for the Colorado Rockies baseball team, and he personally assembled the All-American Girls, a professional cheerleading squad. He spent his stolen money drinking at expensive bars, playing golf at exclusive country clubs, paying off credit card balances, and making additions to his house. Monus purchased a lavish engagement ring for his fiancée, and at their poolside wedding at a Ritz-Carlton hotel, his bride wore an 18-karat gold mesh dress worth $500,000. Monus’s spendaholic personality exhibited itself in countless ways. Many times he would walk into the office at 3 p.m. and say, “Let’s go to Vegas”—and he meant right then! Once there, a limo would whisk him to Caesars Palace, where a suite awaited him seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Monus routinely gave employees up to $4,000 for gambling. As one employee said, “He was at home in the ‘world of big bets and make-believe.’” To Monus, life was truly a game.2 In many frauds, perpetrators use the money to enjoy “the good life.” For example, a perpetrator who confessed to embezzling $3.2 million was asked in her deposition the following question: How would you describe your lifestyle during the period when the fraud was being perpetrated? Her response was: Extravagant. I drove expensive, very nice cars. We had an Audi 5000 Quattro, a Maserati Spider convertible, a Jeep Cherokee, and a Rolls-Royce. We bought expensive paintings, art, and glasswork. We held expensive parties, serving steak and lobster. We bought a condominium for my parents. We took cruises and other expensive vacations. And I wore expensive clothes, fur coats, diamonds, and gold jewelry. The lifestyles of Mickey Monus and this embezzler were extreme, but they demonstrate a common theme: rarely do perpetrators save what they steal. Remember this ...

Comments

Content

TO THE STUDENT The Phar-Mor case at the beginning of this chapter is a classic fraud case that you should know. As you read this case and the rest of the chapter, consider ways in which fraudsters spend the money they embezzle. If you had a seemingly easy source of money, where would you spend it? Where would those you know spend it? How would you as an investigator discover these purchases? LEARNING OBJECTIVES After studying this chapter, you should be able to: Explain why it is important to discover how perpetrators convert and spend stolen funds. Understand how federal, state, and local public records can assist in following the financial “tracks” of suspected perpetrators. Access information via the Internet to assist in the investigation of a suspected fraud perpetrator. Perform net worth calculations on suspected fraud perpetrators and understand how net worth calculations are effective in court and in obtaining confessions. Phar-Mor, a dry goods retailer based in Youngstown, Ohio, was founded in 1982 by Mickey Monus.1 Within 10 years, Phar-Mor was operating in nearly every state of the United States, with over 300 stores in total. As a low-cost leader, the retailer’s business strategy was to sell household products and prescription drugs at lower prices than other department stores. PharMor’s prices were so low and expansion so fast that even Wal-Mart—the king of discount prices —was nervous. Unfortunately, what appeared to be one of the fastest-growing companies in the United States was actually a massive fraud; the company never made a legitimate profit during the fraud years. Investigators eventually determined that Phar-Mor overstated revenues by over $500 million, and Mickey Monus personally pocketed several million dollars. Monus loved the good life and was often found in the middle of the action. For example, he diverted $10 million from revenues to fund a now-defunct minor league basketball venture. He also provided a portion of the original money for the Colorado Rockies baseball team, and he personally assembled the All-American Girls, a professional cheerleading squad. He spent his stolen money drinking at expensive bars, playing golf at exclusive country clubs, paying off credit card balances, and making additions to his house. Monus purchased a lavish engagement ring for his fiancée, and at their poolside wedding at a Ritz-Carlton hotel, his bride wore an 18-karat gold mesh dress worth $500,000. Monus’s spendaholic personality exhibited itself in countless ways. Many times he would walk into the office at 3 p.m. and say, “Let’s go to Vegas”—and he meant right then! Once there, a limo would whisk him to Caesars Palace, where a suite awaited him seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Monus routinely gave employees up to $4,000 for gambling. As one employee said, “He was at home in the ‘world of big bets and make-believe.’” To Monus, life was truly a game.2 In many frauds, perpetrators use the money to enjoy “the good life.” For example, a perpetrator who confessed to embezzling $3.2 million was asked in her deposition the following question: How would you describe your lifestyle during the period when the fraud was being perpetrated? Her response was: Extravagant. I drove expensive, very nice cars. We had an Audi 5000 Quattro, a Maserati Spider convertible, a Jeep Cherokee, and a Rolls-Royce. We bought expensive paintings, art, and glasswork. We held expensive parties, serving steak and lobster. We bought a condominium for my parents. We took cruises and other expensive vacations. And I wore expensive clothes, fur coats, diamonds, and gold jewelry. The lifestyles of Mickey Monus and this embezzler were extreme, but they demonstrate a common theme: rarely do perpetrators save what they steal. Remember this ...

Sponsor Documents

Or use your account on DocShare.tips

Hide

Forgot your password?

Or register your new account on DocShare.tips

Hide

Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive a link to create a new password.

Back to log-in

Close