Tuesday, October 6, 2009
ACORN now faces possible embezzlement charge of $5 million, five times more than previously reported.
ACORN Chief Executive Officer Bertha Lewis said the new reported amount is "completely false."
Attorney General Buddy Caldwell has been conducting an investigation of ACORN since June. He issued subpoenas in August seeking documents related to former ACORN International President Wade Rathke and his brother Dale Rathke, who kept the group's books. Those subpoenas were focused on possible ACORN violations for non-payment of employee withholding taxes, obstructing justice and violating the Employee Retirement Security Act. No charges have been made.
"Current high-ranking members of ACORN have publicly acknowledged that embezzlement did in fact occur, but the exact amount of the embezzlement was unknown until it was recently acknowledged in a board of directors meeting on Oct. 17, 2008, by Bertha Lewis and Liz Wolf that an internal review had determined that the amount embezzled was $5 million, " the new subpoena says.The subpoena says, "It is still unclear if some of the monies embezzled are from state, federal or private funds."
The subpoena requests documents from Citizens Consulting Inc., a financial arm of ACORN, and from various accounting and legal consultants in New Orleans. Investigators are trying to verify the issues raised in the subpoena.
"We're going to follow the evidence where it leads us and try to do the right thing," said David Caldwell, head of the attorney general's public corruption and special prosecutions divisions. "We are actively investigating the case, whatever the outcome might be. This is something we are devoting our full attention to." (continues here)