Accountant James T. Hammes, of Lexington, Ky., was indicted in May on charges that he embezzled more than $8.7 million from a Pepsi bottling company in Deerfield Township. The alleged crimes spanned a decade. At last check, authorities said they couldn’t find Hammes and considered him a fugitive.
The FBI has issued an arrest warrant for a man accused of diverting millions to his own account over a five-year period while he worked for a suburban Cincinnati Pepsi bottler. The FBI says 46-year-old James Hammes was the Lexington, Ky., controller for Deerfield Township-based G&J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers from 2004 until early this year.
The wire fraud and money laundering complaint alleges Hammes deposited G&J funds to a bank account that he controlled, and later transferred the money to other accounts he controlled. The money was intended for a company that supplied labels to the bottler, but the FBI says the supplier had no knowledge of the account or control over it.
Hammes fled after he was served with an initial criminal complaint in February, said Keith Bennett, FBI special agent in charge, in the release. He remains at large. “Anyone with information on the current whereabouts of Mr. Hammes is asked to contact their nearest FBI office,” Bennett said.
The follow was part of an article on Cincinnati.com about white collar crime:
Small employers often make themselves vulnerable to embezzlement because “they trust people too much,” Campbell said. They may put one person in charge of payroll, with little or no scrutiny. Then one day the employee may succumb to the temptation to steal just a little, and then a little more – and “it just snowballs,” Campbell said.
“They always say they meant to pay it back,” Ferguson said. “And the employers always say, ‘But I trusted this person. I don’t understand.’”
Sometimes people with otherwise stellar reputations turn to embezzling because they run into financial trouble and are trying to bail themselves out. Other times, they want the money to buy luxury items or to feed gambling addictions, Ferguson said.
Whatever their motivation, embezzlers have one thing in common: “They’re all smart enough to see some glitch in the system and take advantage of it,” Ferguson said.
Several Butler embezzlers were able to continue their crimes unnoticed for years, Ferguson noted. “A lot of them get caught when they go on vacation or they get sick, and someone else takes over their duties, sees something’s not right and raises a red flag,” he said. “Then they come back from vacation and find themselves confronted or fired.”
The typical embezzler has no prior criminal history, Campbell said. Embezzlers often admit to their crimes – partly because the documented evidence is often hard to dispute and because they want to clear the guilt from their consciences, he said. And, Campbell said, they do it “because it was easy.”
What reasons do you think that white collar criminals do what they do? YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME!