New Orleans C.P.A. Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison in Embezzlement Scheme
U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that PAUL E. GARDNER, age 57, of New Orleans, was sentenced today for an embezzlement scheme which took place during GARDNER’s employment with Clovelly Oil Co., L.L.C. (“Clovelly Oil”).
U.S. District Judge Nannette Jolivette Brown sentenced GARDNER to 30 months’ imprisonment, followed by two years’ supervised release. In addition to the term of imprisonment, GARDNER was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,798,000.
According to court documents, GARDNER operated an accounting, consulting, and tax preparation business under the name Paul E. Gardner, C.P.A. for the past 30 years. In October 2007, Clovelly Oil hired GARDNER as a part-time bookkeeper. GARDNER was responsible for recording the receipts and disbursements for Clovelly and preparing the royalty checks for Clovelly’s more than two-hundred owners. In addition, GARDNER handled the bi-weekly payroll for all of Clovelly’s employees and he was responsible for paying himself.
Beginning in August 2010, and continuing until his termination in May 2014, GARDNER embezzled $1,798,000 from Clovelly Oil by manipulating the bi-weekly payroll records of Clovelly. Every two weeks,GARDNER logged into Clovelly’s on-line bank accounting system using his username and password given to him so he could prepare Clovelly’s payroll and increased his bi-weekly compensation by sometimes as much as $20,000. GARDNER diverted the illegally obtained funds into bank accounts held by the defendant. According to the Bill of Information, GARDNER used the embezzled funds to satisfy gambling debts incurred at a New Orleans casino.
U.S. Attorney Polite praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in investigating this matter. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Fraud Unit Chief, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian M. Klebba.