Former Vineyards employee accused of embezzling $2.3 million

Former Vineyards employee accused of embezzling $2.3 million

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The former bookkeeper of the Vineyards development in North Naples, who helped blow the whistle on a convicted embezzler back in 2005, was indicted himself Thursday on charges of embezzling from the upscale community built around the Vineyards Country Club.

Alfred W. Lenz, 68, who lives in Montague, Mich., stole $2.3 million from the Vineyards Development Corp. over a four-year span while acting as its controller, according to an indictment released Thursday by the Department of Justice.

Between Jan. 11, 2007, and Dec. 9, 2010, authorities say Lenz hid 87 checks — each worth $24,000 for a total of $2,088,000 — in his personal account at Regions Bank, the same bank the development used. He made false entries in the Vineyards’ books to hide the true nature of the payments, according to the Department of Justice.

Officials said he also transferred $292,465 from Vineyards’ bank account to his own, using the money to buy property in Michigan, including a $290,000 home, and fund several retirement accounts.

Lenz was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Michigan and appeared before a Grand Rapids court Thursday afternoon, said William Daniels, a spokesman for the Department of Justice.

Daniels couldn’t say when Lenz will appear in a Florida court.

It marks the latest allegation in a growing web of financial malfeasance at Vineyards.

In 2009, Lenz testified against Ellen Mary Manion, a longtime bookkeeper at the country club who was fired in 2005. Manion admitted to steadily stealing from the club her entire 17 years as an employee. The total amount stolen was roughly $85,000, according to prosecutors.

Lenz had testified, then, that before his arrival in 2005 there was no financial oversight at the development, according to newspaper records.

So the development hired a new auditing firm that spotted bank reconciliations that didn’t match deposits in transit.

"They were unable to make any sense out of the bank reconciliations," Lenz testified.

That prompted Lenz to call and ask Manion when she’d begun embezzling. "She said almost as soon as she was employed," he said.

Manion, who was fired in December 2005, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years of community control — a form of house arrest — and eight years of probation.

Lenz would have already been deep into his own alleged embezzling scheme by the time he testified.

He was the controller from March 31, 2005 to April 27, 2012.

When reached by phone, development representatives declined to comment for this story.

A country club employee referred questions to attorney Robert Rogers, who did not return messages seeking comment.

Vineyards development sued Lenz in June, claiming he stole more than what prosecutors now allege — a total of $2.56 million. The development also sued its bank, Regions Bank, where Lenz is accused of depositing the stolen money.

The bank should have known the checks and wire transfers were fraudulent, "especially in light of the conflicting beneficiary name and beneficiary account number," the complaint says.

Attorneys for the development voluntarily dismissed the civil suit about three weeks ago. They can bring the matter back to court at any time, or wait until the criminal case is settled.

© 2014 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 26

donsense writes:

THAT'S V-I-N-E-Y-A-R-D-S for the spelling challenged at the NDN.

zurich writes:

I don't think he needs to worry about his retirement funds .The state of Florida ,hopefully will take care of his retirement years .

CannoliCalzone writes:

in response to zurich:

I don't think he needs to worry about his retirement funds .The state of Florida ,hopefully will take care of his retirement years .

He lives in Michigan, NOW!! And maybe Kansas very soon...as in LEVENWORTH!

HenryChinaski writes:

The GOP has tapped him to be Radel's replacement.

He has Rick Scott's FULL endorsement.

Birds of a feather

CannoliCalzone writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

donsense writes:

He should have taken up hiding In a foreign country, like Montana!
Dog Day Afternoon

LSPinNaples writes:

in response to HenryChinaski:

The GOP has tapped him to be Radel's replacement.

He has Rick Scott's FULL endorsement.

Birds of a feather

Scott's company (He was CEO) stole from Medicare and Medicaid. Its different when you steal from the public. As Sponge Bob says: "its exactly the same thing...only different."

CannoliCalzone writes:

in response to HenryChinaski:

The GOP has tapped him to be Radel's replacement.

He has Rick Scott's FULL endorsement.

Birds of a feather

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Davidh239 writes:

in response to donsense:

He should have taken up hiding In a foreign country, like Montana!
Dog Day Afternoon

Actually it was Wyoming, but very little difference in the weather. I lived in Wyoming for 18 years and I can attest that it was an adjustment. I can see why someone who had never been there may have felt that way.

I learned to love the state and the people.

For anyone who is interested in Wyoming and the people, Google "Why Wyoming" by Steve Logan.

He is a Rock Springs native and a true Wyomingite. His descriptions and photography are absolutely beautiful. I was fortunate to have been included on many day trips with Steve and even more fortunate to consider him a true friend.

CannoliCalzone writes:

in response to HenryChinaski:

The GOP has tapped him to be Radel's replacement.

He has Rick Scott's FULL endorsement.

Birds of a feather

Cafone

donsense writes:

in response to Davidh239:

Actually it was Wyoming, but very little difference in the weather. I lived in Wyoming for 18 years and I can attest that it was an adjustment. I can see why someone who had never been there may have felt that way.

I learned to love the state and the people.

For anyone who is interested in Wyoming and the people, Google "Why Wyoming" by Steve Logan.

He is a Rock Springs native and a true Wyomingite. His descriptions and photography are absolutely beautiful. I was fortunate to have been included on many day trips with Steve and even more fortunate to consider him a true friend.

Everyone knows Wyoming is part of the USA!
Now Montana, she is a foreign country!

Beachbaby writes:

in response to LSPinNaples:

Scott's company (He was CEO) stole from Medicare and Medicaid. Its different when you steal from the public. As Sponge Bob says: "its exactly the same thing...only different."

It seems Mr. Lenz was a good Republican and quite free with his "well earned money":

http://www.campaignmoney.com/politica...

marcari writes:

in response to Beachbaby:

It seems Mr. Lenz was a good Republican and quite free with his "well earned money":

http://www.campaignmoney.com/politica...

And it seems that former senator Corzine was a good Democrat in that he was not quite free with the 1.6 BILLION he stole, and will serve no time at all. Beachbaby, can't you see how foolish such statements are; we could go on forever trying to slam the political party we oppose and prove nothing.

Beachbaby writes:

in response to marcari:

And it seems that former senator Corzine was a good Democrat in that he was not quite free with the 1.6 BILLION he stole, and will serve no time at all. Beachbaby, can't you see how foolish such statements are; we could go on forever trying to slam the political party we oppose and prove nothing.

The topic was Mr. Lenz. Stay focused.

CannoliCalzone writes:

in response to Beachbaby:

The topic was Mr. Lenz. Stay focused.

I didn't see you telling that to your other Lib friend, Henry Chinaski...Typical Lib hypocrite!!

brighteyes writes:

To get back on track and not political, were there no checks and balances? This went on for almost four years without anyone knowing about it.

HenryChinaski writes:

in response to CannoliCalzone:

Cafone

Do you know what irony is? Its you calling me cafone after site staff removed your last vulgar comment.

So.......You support white collar crime then?

Care to explain to us all why you think white collar crime is good for America?

HenryChinaski writes:

in response to marcari:

And it seems that former senator Corzine was a good Democrat in that he was not quite free with the 1.6 BILLION he stole, and will serve no time at all. Beachbaby, can't you see how foolish such statements are; we could go on forever trying to slam the political party we oppose and prove nothing.

Criminals should be called out on both sides of the aisle. No white collar criminal should be above the law.

But am I naive to think the nine Billion in cash that, "disappeared" when Bush was in office will be recovered?

HenryChinaski writes:

in response to CannoliCalzone:

I didn't see you telling that to your other Lib friend, Henry Chinaski...Typical Lib hypocrite!!

Keep my name out of your dirty mouth.

civilized writes:

It's sad to read the wingnuts' comments on these sites. So delusional, angry, ignorant. Just sad. Get a life, TPers. Have some decaf. Read a book. (That's an organized collection of words bound within front and back covers. You'll find some in a building that is called a "library.")

HenryChinaski writes:

in response to civilized:

It's sad to read the wingnuts' comments on these sites. So delusional, angry, ignorant. Just sad. Get a life, TPers. Have some decaf. Read a book. (That's an organized collection of words bound within front and back covers. You'll find some in a building that is called a "library.")

Libraries? Thats socialism!

WeThePeople2016 writes:

in response to HenryChinaski:

Do you know what irony is? Its you calling me cafone after site staff removed your last vulgar comment.

So.......You support white collar crime then?

Care to explain to us all why you think white collar crime is good for America?

I think he was still thinking in Italian----about Italy

WeThePeople2016 writes:

in response to CannoliCalzone:

I didn't see you telling that to your other Lib friend, Henry Chinaski...Typical Lib hypocrite!!

Typical Italian--the is Naples USA

CannoliCalzone writes:

in response to HenryChinaski:

Do you know what irony is? Its you calling me cafone after site staff removed your last vulgar comment.

So.......You support white collar crime then?

Care to explain to us all why you think white collar crime is good for America?

MORON is NOW a vulgar comment?? When did that word become VULGAR??

HenryChinaski writes:

in response to CannoliCalzone:

MORON is NOW a vulgar comment?? When did that word become VULGAR??

Why are you in favor of white collar crime? Why do you support people who embezzle millions from a private corporation or GOP Governor Rick Scott who previously defrauded American Taxpayers out of hundreds of millions of dollars?

Answer the question.

I'll answer your question: If you make a comment that is devoid of thought and is nothing more than trash it will be deleted. IF you have some substance to your post then it will not.

Im not a Moderator on the comments section of the NDN but that's my best guess.

Dilbert writes:

Hank...Rick Scott IS NOT IN PRISON...shut up and comment on THIS story

This is about another crook taking the money from a foolish family...I think it serves the Procaccis well....they never cared about anything but $$$$$

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