Former El Dorado Hills Man Found Guilty of Embezzling from Rancho Cordova Construction Company
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 22, 2011|
SACRAMENTO, CA—United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that after a five-day trial, a federal jury convicted Thomas Tanke, 67, previously of El Dorado Hills and presently of Monument, Colo., today of two counts of mail fraud and five counts of bank fraud for embezzling funds from his employer.
This case is the product of an investigation by the FBI and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant United States Attorneys S. Robert Tice-Raskin and Russell Carlberg are prosecuting the case.
The evidence at trial established that Tanke was Vice President of Azteca Construction Inc. (Azteca) from July 6, 1999 until his resignation in July 2004. He oversaw the company’s East Coast Division operations from Azteca’s corporate office in Rancho Cordova and conducted construction management for various California projects. As part of his job responsibilities, Tanke approved payments for vendors and suppliers. Construction Equipment Rental & Services (CERS) owned much of the construction equipment and trucks that Azteca leased in its operations. Tanke embezzled funds from Azteca and CERS by depositing checks made out to the companies into his own bank account. He also defrauded Azteca by using Azteca checking accounts to pay for his own personal expenses.
Evidence presented at trial showed that in 2004, when Azteca and CERS were winding down operations and selling off equipment, third party purchasers issued checks to buy the equipment. Tanke obtained these checks and deposited them into his business bank account. Some of the checks were for more than $30,000.
Tanke fraudulently caused Azteca checks to be issued for payment to his various personal creditors, and in many instances, he signed the checks. Moreover, in some instances, Tanke submitted false invoices to suggest that the payments were for legitimate company expenses. For instance, Tanke submitted invoices for payment to “AFS” purportedly for a construction project. In reality, “AFS” was “Audi Financial Services,” and Tanke was paying for his personal vehicle from company funds. Tanke also paid off personal credit cards, bought jewelry, and bought an expensive bicycle using company checks.
Tanke was remanded into custody after the jury returned its verdict. In remanding Tanke, United States District Judge Edward J. Garcia noted that the evidence admitted against Tanke at trial was “overwhelming.” Tanke is scheduled for sentencing on March 15, 2012 by Judge Garcia. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, for each count of mail fraud, 30 years in prison for each count of bank fraud, and a $250,000 fine for each count. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.