Inside the FBI: Accountant Sentenced for Multi-Million-Dollar Embezzlement Scheme
November 21, 2017
A look inside the white-collar case of an accountant sentenced to federal prison for defrauding his victims of millions of dollars—including a client with Alzheimer’s who was living in a nursing home.
Mollie Halpern: It’s a look inside the white-collar case of an accountant sentenced to federal prison for defrauding his victims of millions of dollars—including a client with Alzheimer’s who was living in a nursing home.
Thomas Hauk carried out his embezzlement scheme for 10 years—beginning in 2006—while working as an accountant at a financial management business in Overland Park, Kansas.
He routinely represented himself as a Certified Public Accountant—which he is not. He also falsely claimed he earned in excess of $400,000 a year.
FBI Special Agent Kacie Laidacker said Hauk drove ordinary vehicles to work.
Kacie Laidacker: It was like he was a double life. He was this accountant who was very quiet, and he made $50,000 a year at this company—but on the weekends he’s in a Ferrari racing club, and he is traveling the country to race Ferraris and to purchase these high-end vehicles.
Halpern: When Hauk resigned to begin working at a new financial management company with one of his victims, his previous company discovered discrepancies with his accounts. That’s when they called the FBI.
Laidacker: And within a very short amount of time, we were able to see the on-the-books fraud scheme, where he was manipulating clients’ accounts and moving money out into his own personal accounts and business accounts that he created.
Halpern: As a perpetrator of an on-the-books fraud scheme, Hauk attempted to balance debits and credits in the accounting system to hide transactions and avoid detection.
Within just eight days of opening the case, however, FBI investigators had enough probable cause to obtain and execute three search warrants.
During the searches, investigators discovered court records that proved this was not the first time Hauk had embezzled from clients. Those cases, though, were handled outside of the criminal system.
Laidacker also says when executing the search warrants…
Laidacker: We seized approximately 30 vehicles and three condo garages, which were storage units for those vehicles. Along with high-end jewelry, auto parts, tools, he used the money for personal living expenses and to fund the life of his fiancée.
Halpern: The cars and motorcycles were all high-end luxury vehicles, some costing up to $300,000 each. Hauk had bought 66 of them in total—property he accumulated with his clients’ wealth.
Hauk had convinced his clients not to conduct any outside audits on their accounts.
Laidacker: He really had the trust of his clients, and so they—rather than spending $10 or $15,000 a year having outside audits done—they trusted him, they befriended him, they considered him part of the family, and he managed to perpetrate this fraud for 10 years at this company.
Halpern: In addition to the warrants, FBI investigators interviewed victims and conducted a lengthy forensic accounting of all related records.
Laidacker: The forensic accountant on the case was key.
Halpern: The investigation revealed Hauk defrauded five victims and stole the identity of a sixth victim.
The financial company Hauk had planned to work for with one of his victims quickly dissolved when the investigation into him began to unfold.
In the end, Thomas Hauk pleaded guilty to bank fraud, wire fraud, counterfeit securities, and money laundering.
Hauk was sentenced to nine years in federal prison without parole. He was also ordered to pay restitution to his victims.
And law enforcement…
Laidacker: We were able to return $1.7 million in net proceeds to the victims.
Halpern: Hauk surrendered to the Bureau of Prisons in October 2016 and is currently serving his sentence in Forrest City, Arkansas.
This is Inside the FBI. Thanks for listening. I’m Mollie Halpern of the Bureau.