The former CEO of Hendricks Power Cooperative was recently charged with defrauding the utility of more than $500,000 over six years.
Donnis Mizelle, 55, of Avon, Indiana, has agreed to plead guilty to the charge against him. He’s accused of using his position as CEO to embezzle nearly half a million dollars, which federal prosecutors say he used to buy jewelry, iPads and pay for personal vacations.
“CEOs hold positions of special trust and authority, not only in the companies they serve but as leaders in society. We expect them to act with integrity,” U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler said. “Exploiting that special trust for personal gain is an egregious crime, especially when those defrauded are friends and neighbors in a community that the CEO was hired to serve. This Office will vigorously prosecute such crimes, doing its part to ensure that business leaders act with the integrity we expect.”
Mizelle faces up to 20 years in prison and an order to pay restitution to Hendricks Power Cooperative.
Embezzlement happens over time in small increments, just as it did at the Hendricks Power Cooperative. There are usually indicators buried in accounting data that can reveal inconsistencies long before catastrophic damage is done.
DFND Analytics proprietary software runs more than 30 forensic checks against an organization’s accounting data to search for anomalies and suspicious transactions. Reports can be run as often as six times a year, and a Dfnd professional reviews every report before it goes to the customer.
DFND wants small businesses, which can be hit the hardest by fraud, to have a better understanding of their organization’s risks and opportunities.
Reckless personal spending is a common occurrence in internal fraud cases. Without DFND how could a Board of Directors know trouble was looming on the horizon?
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