News

Former Woodside woman embezzled millions

She pleads guilty to income tax evasion

Ann Ray, a bookkeeper and former resident of Woodside, pleaded guilty in federal court July 19 to six felony counts of income tax evasion in connection with the embezzlement of $4.7 million from her employer of 34 years, federal authorities said.

Ms. Ray, also known as Georgia Engelhart, faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of the six counts, said Jack Gillund, a San Francisco-based spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice, in a statement based on the plea bargain.

Ms. Ray, now a resident of Antioch, kept the books for a San Carlos-based group of family businesses, owned by Don and Carole Tanklage of San Carlos, according to the Associated Press. Ms. Ray had "unfettered access" to the bank accounts of those businesses, the DOJ statement said.

She was charged on July 8 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Ms. Ray's defense attorney, Robert Carey of the Palo Alto firm Carey & Carey, has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Vacations and gambling

Ms. Ray, 67, started embezzling in the 1980s and by 2004 was redirecting to her own benefit hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, the statement said.

Her methods, according to the DOJ statement, included:

● Writing company checks to herself and to her personal credit cards, which she used for everyday expenses as well as cash advances and "expensive vacations and regular gambling at casinos."

● After the company owner had signed her payroll check, sometimes altering the leftmost digit, such as by changing the figure 1 in $1,000 to a 4 or a 7.

● Forging the owner's signature until, in 2007, the owner provided her a signature stamp, which Ms. Ray then used in falsifying business checks for her personal gain.

● Altering bookkeeping, records and bank statements "almost on a daily basis" to conceal her activities including, on at least three occasions, the use of false company-to-company transfers.

Ms. Ray admitted to embezzling $4.7 million between 1998 and May 2009, the statement said.

In a criminal indictment by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Moore, chief of the Tax Division, Ms. Ray is said to have reported a total income tax liability of $84,369 for herself and her spouse between 2004 and 2009, but owes an additional $782,600 in unpaid back taxes.

The criminal investigation arm of the Internal Revenue Service conducted the probe that led to the prosecution, the DOJ statement said.

Comments

Posted by Westside trucker, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 21, 2011 at 10:44 am

Who was watching the store ? How could she steal that much money, over such a long period of time, without the boss seeing this happen. It must have been a very protitable business.


Posted by R.Gordon, a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2011 at 8:22 am

Bookkeepers and acccountants are notorious for these kind of crimes but this one sounds a bit off her rocker.
Not having put away money for the period after 2008 proves she must be mentally deficient.
I know of at least a dozen friends and acquaintances who have gone thorough this and a close lady friend who lost a 12 million dollar home in the Hamptons last year because it was attorney who recommended the accounting firm who handed hers over to one person.
Mostly widows or divorcees are usually the targets when the estate is under #100,000,000. She is not or has never been generous with her wealth, which would have benefitted her each year when she would see her tax records.The I.R.S. is working overtime to weed out the corrupt super rich and their formulas for hiding money are now almost
obscenely naive. Pay your taxes.


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