This blog has been established for open discussion regarding the accusations of embezzelment brought against the Smith Family of Apple Valley. There were some interesting comments made on the Daily Press's website, but the Smith family kept deleting all comments by "reporting abuse". Feel free to speak your mind now, they cannot delete your comments now.
The following article was printed in the Victor Valley Daily Press:
Family accused of embezzling millions from Apple Valley company
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BROOKE EDWARDS Staff Writer
April 25, 2008 - 2:03PM
APPLE VALLEY — A local family is being sued for allegedly embezzling millions of dollars from Gold Star Equipment Rentals in Apple Valley.
Dianne Smith, her husband Percival Charles, and their children Patricia, Shanyn and Travis have all been named in the pending civil suit, which alleges the family used company money for payments on Hummers and Corvettes, mobile homes and jet skis.
Attorney Gary Martin with Martin and Stamp said he believes at least $2 million was embezzled, though his team is still pouring over a decade of financial records to determine the total amount.
Judge Thomas Garza at the Victorville Courthouse froze the Smith’s assets earlier this month, after Martin reported they were attempting to liquidate their 401(k) and feared they were ready to run.
Attorneys for the family deny all of these allegations. The family’s attorney, Anthony Lanza said their side of the story will be filed in court documents by Thursday.
Lanza said McCurley fired Dianne Smith in December because she refused to continue “cooking the books,” as she had been pressured to do for years so that McCurley could defraud the IRS of millions.
He said none of the Smiths ever benefited financially from the fraud.
Though no criminal case has yet been filed, a local investigation recently opened under Cpl. Bob Thacker with the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department’s Apple Valley station, according to spokeswoman Trish Hill. Hill said the investigation is in its very early stages, but that the Smiths are accused of fraud and embezzlement. She anticipates it will be a lengthy investigation, with accusations dating back more than 10 years.
Court documents include hundreds of pages of canceled checks out of Gold Star’s expense account signed by Dianne Smith, with thousands spent on jewelry and written to her children. Dianne Smith also allegedly forged McCurley’s name and took out lines of credit to purchase four pieces of property in Apple Valley.
“I think it’s a slam-dunk case,” said Wayne McCurley, owner of Gold Star and its parent company Westech Industries. McCurley filed the suit against the Smiths on Feb. 25.
In his statement to the court, McCurley said Charles Smith called him on Dec. 21, confessed and revealed the plan to pin the fraud on him.
“He told me that he was sure I was close to finding out he and his wife Dianne Smith had been stealing money from Westech and Gold Star,”McCurley wrote in his statement. “He stated that while they had not stolen the millions of dollars it might appear they had, they nevertheless had a ‘pretty good run.’ ”
McCurley wrote in his statement that Charles Smith told him Dianne Smith had created a set of books that would show the company had not paid all of the taxes they should, and threatened to use the books to destroy the business if he ever tried to put them in prison.
Dianne Smith had been with Gold Star for 15 years, first as a bookkeeper and later as a board member and chief financial officer in charge of all accounting for the company.
“I think she spent the first five years earning my trust and last 10 years taking advantage of it,” McCurley said.
Smith employed her husband as general manager and her two daughters in accounting, according to court documents. Several canceled checks cashed by Travis out of the company’s expense account are also included in the court file.
McCurley said all bills for Gold Star, which rents fork lifts, tractors and other maintenance equipment, are now paid out of Westech’s home office, in Galt near Sacramento.Brooke Edwards may be reached at 955-5358 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.