2017-06-08 / Courts

Plea closer for embezzlement

TAYLOR TAYLOR A 52-year-old Empire woman who has been accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Maple City company has not yet pleaded to the charge, but is expected by county prosecutors to do so in the next week.

Former bookkeeper Carolyn D. Taylor, of 13745 S. Armstrong Lake Road, is charged with embezzeling more than $100,000 from the Leelanau Redi-Mix firm.

However, a related civil suit puts the amount taken at $487,207.

Assistant Prosecutor Donaldson said he made a final offer to Taylor that does not reduce the charge. A restitution amount has not yet been agreed on. The court has allowed the parties additional time to settle that amount, Donaldson said.

Taylor was arrested in March on suspicion that she embezzled more than $100,000 from Leelanau Redi- Mix on Maple City Road.

She is currently free on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond.

Taylor has also been sued by Marilyn and Charles Flaska, the owners of Leelanau Redi-Mix, for nearly $1.5 million plus court and attorney fees. Taylor’s daughters, Brook Taylor and Jennifer Clark, have also been named in the lawsuit, which was filed in February.

Taylor worked for Redi-Mix for about 10 years as a bookkeeper and accountant. During that time she repeatedly and regularly stole funds from her employer over a period of about six years, according to court records.

The Flaskas filed a criminal complaint with the Leelanau County Sheriff’s Office in July, telling detectives they suspected money was being taken from the company.

According to reports from a financial investigation by the Rehmann Corporate investigated Services and by Leelanau Sheriff’s deputies, Taylor put her daughters on the Redi-Mix payroll and gave them thousands of dollars, though they were never employed by the company.

Reports also outline a down payment on a house and money that was used to pay for car repairs, credit cards and utilities. Money was also given to a volleyball league that Taylor coaches, according to reports.

“We’re talking about a number of years worth of bank records and multiple artifices that were used to place the false entries into the books to disguise greatly the method of theft,”

Donaldson said the amount allegedly stolen in the civil lawsuit may have recently increased to between $500,000 and $700,000.

“When you have a moving target like that, part of our job is to define and solidify that number for the court so we can avoid having a mini-trial on the restitution amount,” Donaldson said.

Taylor is being represented by Traverse City attorney Jay Zelenock; Leelanau Redi-Mix is being represented by attorney John Grogan, also of Traverse City. Neither attorney was available for comment.

The embezzlement charge is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

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