EMPLOYMENT ISSUES UNIQUE TO JEHOVAH'S WITNESS EMPLOYEES

JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES FINANCIAL HONESTY & INTEGRITY SUBSECTION PAGE 7 OF 12
 
---
EMPLOYEE THEFT & EMBEZZLEMENT
COURT CASES
 

******************              ******************

UNITED STATES v. BRADFORD LAYNE BATES was a 2009-10 Kentucky federal criminal case which involved a high-profile Lexington, Kentucky area African-American Jehovah's Witness ELDER named Bradford Layne Bates, a/k/a Brad L. Bates, a/k/a Brad Bates. Bradford L. Bates, age 52, reportedly had served as an Elder and Pioneer in various Lexington, Kentucky Congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses, but most recently served as the Coordinator of the Body of Elders at the Spanish Richmond, Kentucky Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. Bradford L. Bates reportedly was also a leader of the WatchTower Society's local Kentucky Regional Building Committee. Bates reportedly had also served in various positions at multiple WatchTower Circuit Assemblies and District Conventions over the decades.  Bates also has a significant internet presence, where he interacted internationally with fellow JWs.

Bradford Layne Bates was employed as "Director of Finances" (aka accountant) for Integrated Sign & Graphics, Inc. of Lexington, Kentucky, since 1994. Around 2008, Bates' employer began to suspect that the trusted Brad Bates was embezzling company funds, and contact was made with law enforcement. The United States Secret Service eventually conducted an investigation, which uncovered that, since at least 2003, Bates had forged his employer's signature on company checks made payable to himself, on company checks which paid Bates' personal credit card bills, and on company checks which funded Bates' retirement and savings accounts.

Bradford Bates pleaded guilty in October 2009 to embezzling over $655,000.00. In February 2010, Bates was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison -- 85% of which must be served before becoming eligible for release. Following his release, Bates will not be allowed to obtain credit, and the U.S. Probation Office will have full access to his financial records. Bates must also pay $655,069.00 in restitution to the employer following his release.

Allegedly, Brad Bates and his JW family, had lived "high on the hog" for several years, doing much traveling to indulge his photography avocation, and had racked up substantial credit card spending. Apparently, "Armageddon" did not arrive quite soon enough. One of our sources even alleges that during the investigation that Bates took a company vehicle without permission and attempted suicide.

******************

AUTUMN DAWN ZAKULA v. ROBERT L. KACZMAROWSKI (2009) and WISCONSIN v. ROBERT L. KACZMAROWSKI (2008-09) were related 2008-09 Wisconsin criminal and civil court cases which allegedly revolved around business services performed by an Accountant named Robert Kaczmarowski, of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, for the Bette L. Zakula Family Trust. The involved parties are believed at one time to have been fellow members of the Sturgeon Bay Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. Our source reports that Robert Kaczmarowski was at one time a congregation JW Elder.

In June 2008, accountant Bob Kaczmarowski was arrested and charged with 6 counts of THEFT greater than $10,000.00, 2 counts of THEFT $5-10,000.00, and one count of False Swearing - Government Setting (April 2007). In a September 2009 plea deal, Robert L. Kaczmarowski, then age 52, pled "no contest" to only two counts of THEFT greater than $10,000.00, and was sentenced to 7 years in prison, with all but 12 months being probated. Robert Kaczmarowski was also ordered to participate in mental health counseling. Restitution totalling $125,000.00 was ordered. In 2014, the restitution schedule was modified from $1500/month to $500/month, and probation was extended for 15 years.

*****************

NORTH CAROLINA v. LYNETTE RENEE FOWLER was a 2012-13 North Carolina criminal court case. In May 2012, Lynette R. Fowler, age 41, of Raleigh, North Carolina, an accountant, was arrested on charges of embezzling approximately $30,000.00 from her employer, from October 2010 until March 2012. Fowler was scheduled to appear in criminal court regarding those charges in May 2013.

Lynette Fowler died under suspicious circumstances on her 42nd BIRTHDAY in February 2013, in Raleigh, when her SUV was struck by an Amtrak passenger train. Eyewitnesses reported that Fowler's older SUV was sitting in a graveled parking lot in downtown Raleigh, just after 5:00 PM, when Fowler's SUV began to slowly roll toward adjacent railroad tracks and the oncoming Amtrak train.

Lynette Fowler is rumored to have been a Jehovah's Witness, and was cremated as is the current trend amongst JWs. Fowler's husband is believed to be a third-generation JW. Both his father and grandfather is/were JW Elders.

******************

LOUISIANA v. MAXINE KENNEDY and LOUISIANA v. TONI KENNEDY are two ongoing 2009 Louisiana criminal prosecutions. According to July and August articles published in The Advocate, a longtime School Secretary at Scotlandville Magnet High School, in the East Baton Rouge Parish, named Maxine Kennedy, age 62, is being prosecuted along with her daughter, Toni Kennedy, age 29, (both living at same address) for unauthorized use of a credit card issued to Scotlandville High School. Per a Spring 2009 audit conducted by the school system's Internal Audit Office, Maxine Kennedy, the schoolís secretary, allegedly obtained a Samís Club Card without authorization, and over the course of 28 months, used it to buy groceries, furniture, pay utility bills, and make cash advances totaling $51,877.92. Maxine Kennedy allegedly allowed her daughter, Toni Kennedy, to use the school credit card, including for large cash advances, and to attend a WATCHTOWER SOCIETY CONVENTION. Interestingly, the audit, which normally was conducted only every three years, was reportedly conducted ahead of schedule after Maxine Kennedy allegedly ratted out another school employee who was selling concessions during hours that concession sales were prohibited. Both Kennedys pleaded "not guilty" at an August proceeding, and their attorney made comments to the media which would seem to indicate that a plea deal was in the works.

******************

CALIFORNIA v. WILLIAM PATERNOSTRO and LOS ANGELES COUNTY v. WILLIAM and MARGARET PATERNOSTRO were related 1987-90 California criminal and civil court cases which involved a Jehovah's Witness Embezzler named William Paternostro. William Paternostro, age 41, was a civilian accountant employed, since 1976, by the Los Angeles County Fire Department. In 1989, Paternostro pleaded "no contest" to criminal charges that he embezzled more than $530,000.00 from the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Paternostro was actually believed to have stolen nearly $1,000,000.00, from 1980 to 1987, but the lesser amount was all that could be proved due to the time lapse.

William Paternostro was a Jehovah's Witness Elder, who also was the Treasurer for his local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses. Paternostro used two bank accounts belonging to his Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses to accomplish his crimes. From 1980 until 1987, Paternostro would place various miscellaneous receipts of funds into the Fire Dept's "petty cash" account. Paternostro would then wire money from the petty cash account into two bank accounts belonging to his Kingdom Hall. Pasternostro would then remove the money out of those two accounts.

For "confidentiality issue" considerations, it is interesting that one of Paternostro's fellow Jehovah's Witness Elders, named Jaap Valkman, provided testimony against Paternostro in that Paternostro had partially admitted much of the crime to the Body of Elders at his Jehovah's Witnesses congregation. Paternostro was sentenced to seven years in state prison on the criminal charges. To settle the civil lawsuit, Paternostro offered to repay $767,000.00. Repayment consisted of William and Margaret Paternostro transferring title to their $600,000.00+ home, expensive autos, and other unspecified assets, which had been enjoyed by the Paternostros and their three children.

******************             ******************
 
MISSOURI v. DANIEL ROBERT BEBERMEYER (2010-11) and DANNER CONSTRUCTION LLC v. DANIEL ROBERT BEBERMEYER ET AL (2010-13) are related criminal and civil court cases allegedly involving a Jehovah's Witness family living in Morgan County, Missouri (and, with little doubt, their local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses and its Body of Elders).

On January 19, 2010, Daniel R. Bebermeyer and his wife, Sherri (Danner) Bebermeyer, both of Versailles, Missouri, were civilly sued by Daniel Bebermeyer's employer and brother-in-law, Dennis Danner, owner of Danner Construction LLC, of Barnett, Missouri. In that lawsuit, Dennis Danner sought to recover approximately $1,400,000.00, which Danner alleged that Danny Bebermeyer had embezzled over a multi-year period. The local bank at which Bebermeyer allegedly had deposited the stolen funds was also joined in the lawsuit. However, that bank went into FDIC receivership subsequent to the filing of this lawsuit, but Danner failed to file a claim with the FDIC within the required time period. The FDIC removed the case to the USDC. In September 2012, the USDC remanded back to the state courts, where the case against FDIC will be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Civil claims against the Bebemeyer's are apparently still pending.

On January 27, 2010, Daniel R. Bebermeyer was arrested by the Morgan County Sheriff's Department, and was charged with one count of stealing more than $25,000.00. The Sheriff's department alleged that Danny Bebermeyer obtained contracts for Danner Construction LLC, but provided false documents to the company, and did not turn over all the proceeds from those contracts. Detectives reportedly obtained records from several banks and from Danner Construction LLC, which allegedly led to the finding of the diversion of $1,400,000.00. Interestingly, the criminal prosecution was dropped sometime in 2011-12 -- supposedly only a few days prior to trial -- and, supposedly due to "lack of evidence" (Read between the lines. Criminal prosecutions do not proceed almost to trial without existence of "physical evidence" -- probably due to "lack of 'witnesses'".)
 
*******************
 
AUSTRALIA v. NELSON RIVERA was a 2010 Australia criminal court case in which a 23 year-old Jehovah's Witness Accountant named Nelson Rivera pleaded "Guilty" to three charges of theft relating to his stealing $549,000.00 AU, in 2008, from three bank accounts entrusted to him by his employer, Prime Pharmacy Group. The El Salvador native reportedly fled to Mexico before returning to Australia to face prosecution. Nelson Rivera reportedly spent the money on illicit sex, gambling, travel, and high living. Rivera's attorney blamed Rivera's employer, telling reporters that the "Jehovah's Witness had been exploited in unfavourable work conditions and became distraught and confused where the 'money he saw on the screens didn't seem to have any value'''. Nelson Rivera's mother, Anna Rivera, told reporters that it was "horrible seeing her son suffer for two years without him saying anything."
 
*******************

In 1991, the Miami Springs, Florida Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses changed its name to the Virginia Gardens Spanish Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. Interestingly, in March 1993, two checks on the Congregation's old checking account were cashed in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is unclear whether the Congregation had completely closed the old checking account, or had merely changed the name and retained the account number. In any event, who other than one of the Elders would have had access to those defunct checks? 

******************

UNITED STATES v. OTIS WILSON was a 1986-9 Illinois federal criminal court decision.  In April-May 1986, a 29 year-old "Jehovah's Witness", named Otis Wilson, conspired with five others to commit what is labeled, "The Largest Embezzlement In Chicago's History". (Wilson's then membership status is unclear, but one media report stated that "most of his family are Jehovah's Witnesses".)

The scam was hatched by a Detroit con-man, named Armand Moore, and his Chicago cousin, Herschel Bailey, who somehow "knew" Otis Wilson. Wilson had been employed at The First National Bank of Chicago for six years. In Spring 1986, Otis Wilson worked in the bank's department which was responsible for "wire transfers" of money. Bailey apparently convinced Wilson to join the conspiracy, and apparently because Wilson could not do everything that needed to be done in the scam, Wilson enlisted another department employee, named Gabriel Taylor. Bailey initially wanted to steal $232 million, and Wilson and Taylor's cut was to be $28 million of the $232 million.

Together, Otis Wilson and Gabriel Taylor provided the others with confidential information regarding the bank's wire transfers procedures, including the verbiage and codes that would be needed during the request and confirmation stages. The Duo also studied bank records to determine which bank customers had the highest amount of protection against overdrafts, and which had the highest volume of transactions in their account, so that missing funds would be difficult to reconcile.

On Friday, May 13, 1986, the outside conspirators telephone the bank and requested $69,125,000.00 be transferred from the accounts of Merrill Lynch, United Airlines, and Brown-Forman to bank accounts in Vienna, Austria. Taylor maneuvered the inside situation such that he was the bank employee to "confirm" the requests, and the funds were transferred as requested. However, the scam was discovered the following Monday by practically every party involved, because Wilson and Taylor were ignorant of nearly everything that such large wire transfers would trigger outside their own department's function.

The $69,125,000.00 was quickly recovered, and Wilson's and Taylor's roles in the scheme were unraveled just as quickly. Both Wilson and Taylor cooperated with the authorities. Taylor even helped the F.B.I. "sting" some of the outsiders. Otis Wilson provided a detailed confession to a federal grand jury, which incriminated himself and his co-conspirators. In 1989, Otis Wilson was sentenced to only 36 months in prison.

******************

UNITED STATES v. LOUIS P. ROLOFSON JR., FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF NORMAL v. LOUIS P. ROLOFSON JR., and FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF NORMAL v. LOUIS P. ROLOFSON JR. was a 1970 Illinois federal criminal prosecution, along with the two related state civil lawsuits attempting to recoup the embezzled $38,000.00 and $25,000.00. In November 1969, then 25 year-old Louis Rolofson was arrested by the F.B.I. and charged wuth embezzling $38,000.00 from his employer, the First National Bank of Normal, in Normal, Illinois, where L. P. Rolofson had been employed as a Bank Teller since January 1969. Rolofson pled "Guilty" in December 1969. Stupidly, Rolofson had cashed checks for $18,000.00 and $20,000.00 at his teller window which were written on his own bank account held at a Clinton, Illinois bank. The checks were cashed without the approval of a supervisor, and Rolofson did not have sufficient funds in his Clinton bank account to cover those checks. It was not until after Rolofson had been sentenced on the $38,000.00 theft that the First National Bank of Normal discovered a second theft of $25,000.00. Rolofson was thereafter also indicted for embezzling the $25,000.00. Sentence unknown.

In December 1995, Louis Paul Rolofson, Jr., 51, of Dewitt, Illinois, was convicted on aggravated criminal sexual assault charges, and sentenced to 18 years in prison. Louis P. Rolofson Jr. was among several JW adults who took a group of youngsters from the Clinton, Illinois Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses on a congregation field trip to Grant's Farm and Six Flags near St. Louis, Missouri. While Rolofson was rooming with the two sons of a divorced JW Mother, he sexually assaulted the younger ten-year-old boy. The ten-year-old boy was forced to give "unshakable testimony" at the trial, because numerous Jehovah's Witnesses from Louis Rolofson's Clinton Illinois Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses lined up to testify as "character witnesses" in his behalf. Notably, Louis Rolofson had attended the 1953 WatchTower International Convention held in Yankee Stadium, along with his JW Mother, Pat Rolofson, and his younger brother, Lanny Rolofson.

******************

CROWN v. OLIVIA RUTTY and CROWN v. NICHOLAS JAMES RUTTY were related 2015 British criminal prosecutions of a Redruth, Cornwall married couple with "Jehovah's Witness" background and ties. It is our understanding that the news media's mention of Olivia Rutty as an "emotionally fragile" person who was reared as a Jehovah's Witness but "disfellowshipped" when she was 16 years-old does not provide readers with an accurate picture of the Ruttys' continued association with JW family and others connected to the WatchTower Cult.

In June 2015, Olivia Rutty, age 31, was convicted in Truro Crown Court of stealing more than $60,000.00 (U.S.) from her longtime employer, Pure Dental Health and Wellbeing in Truro, where Olivia Rutty had worked since she was 21 years-old, and presently served as Business Development Manager. Olivia Rutty pleaded guilty to 28 counts of theft, including furnishing false information to the company's payroll service to increase her own pay and using the company's credit cards to pay for her own purchases, committed between July 2012 and October 2013. Olivia Rutty was sentenced to two years in prison.

Husband, Nicholas J. Rutty, age 35, a construction contractor, also pleaded guilty to three counts of furnishing false information with a view to making a gain for himself or another, including submitting inflated bills to Pure Dental Health and Wellbeing and submitting bills for work never performed. Nicholas Rutty was sentenced to community service and given a suspended 6 months sentence.

*****************

In May 2001, in Detroit, Michigan, FOX TV affiliate WJBK-2's local television program called PROBLEM SOLVERS aired a segment which featured a Detroit area Jehovah's Witness Elder meeting for "field service" at his Kingdom Hall on Saturday mornings, and thereafter preaching door-to-door on Saturday mornings. Why would routine JW activities be televised on an expose' television program? Because this Jehovah's Witness Elder was being paid by Detroit Taxpayers for the time that he was spending fulfilling his duties as an Elder at the Kingdom Hall and for the time that he was spending preaching the WatchTower's gospel from door-to-door. This JW Employee was videotaped showing up for work on Saturday morning, clocking in, and then leaving for the Kingdom Hall. Then, after completing his JW activities for the day, he returned to work to clock out. This Jehovah's Witness Elder was employed by the Detroit school system in its maintenance department, and in the year 2000, he had turned in overtime hours which paid him $43,000.00 over and above his regular wages of $52,000.00.

*****************

The Mildreada Andrews Jehovah's Witness Crime Family.  Referred to by federal prosecutors as the "Grand Dame of Identity Theft", a Jehovah's Witness named Mildreada Andrews (amongst other surnames) was finally partially exposed for who she was, and she and her children were finally convicted in United States Federal Court, in 2005-6.

Given that Mildreada Ruiz was a Cuban immigrant, it probably is not even a sure bet that Mildreada's maiden name is "Ruiz". The only surname that is a certainty is "Andrews", and that is a known fact only because it can be established that the then 20 year-old Mildreada "Ruiz" married a fellow Jehovah's Witness named Mark Andrews, in Florida, in January 1980, and they thereafter had a son, named Michael Lee Andrews (1981), and a daughter, named Melanie Marie Andrews (1983).

Reportedly, Mark Andrews met Mildreada "Ruiz" at a "Jehovah's Witness Get-Together" in Hollywood, Florida, sometime in the late 1970s. The day after they returned from their honeymoon in January 1980, the FBI knocked on their front door looking for Mildreada on forgery charges, since their wedding, honeymoon, etc had been paid with checks that she had forged.

Although only 20 years old at the time, Mildreada Andrews' life of crime probably pre-dated those 1979-80 crimes, and it is known to have continued long after Mark Andrews and she divorced in the mid-1980s. Mildreada Andrews apparently was even somehow able to con the Florida family courts into granting her custody of Michael Andrews and Melanie Andrews, despite having served an unknown amount of prison time during the 1980s, and rearing the two children in "the family business" At some point, Mildreada Andrews also started using the surname "Rapa" with some regularity. It is not known whether Mildreada may have married a second time, or whether "Rapa" was simply a "clean alias".

Mildreada Andrews used "identity theft" as a way to facilitate the family's many other financial crimes. Thus, even after the 2005-6 federal prosecutions and convictions of all three family members, the FBI probably has no idea of the actual number of crimes which were committed during the nearly 30 years long multi-state crime spree, because even when arrested, and/or prosecuted, and/or jailed, it is known that at least some of those arrests, prosecutions, and convictions were under ever-changing aliases.

Mildreada Andrews apparently also used the Jehovah's Witnesses' proclivity for packing up their families and moving every few years in order to perform WatchTower recruiting in a less often worked area as a means of moving from state-to-state and lying-low as honest-beyond-reproach citizens. While JWs holler that Mildreada Andrews also victimized fellow JWs, interestingly, it was not until the 2001-3 crimes against several JWs in Washington State that law enforcement was able to uncover who was the real Mildreada Andrews. If Mildreada Andrews had a pattern of victimizing JWs prior to then, then show me the proof.

Apparently, only because she was either arrested, prosecuted, or convicted under her own name, Mildreada Andrews is known to have operated in Florida, New Jersey, possibly Texas (a "Mildreada Ruiz" was indicted in Jefferson County -- east Gulf coast of Texas -- in December 1992), Arizona, California, and Washington. It is anyone's guess as to where else this "Jehovah's Witness Gang" may have conducted criminal operations.

***

UNITED STATES v. RAPA, UNITED STATES v. ANDREWS, and UNITED STATES v. ANDREWS. In 2006, "Mildreada Rapa", her daughter Melanie Andrews, and her son Michael Andrews (using the surname "Hernandez"), were convicted in Washington state federal court of Fraudulent Use of Social Security numbers, real estate fraud, false statements to HUD, and income tax fraud. "Mildreada Rapa" was sentenced to 8 years in prison and 3 years of supervised release, and was ordered to make restitution of $550,000.00. Melanie Andrews was sentenced to 15 months in prison and 3 years of supervised release, and  was ordered to pay restitution of $60,000.00. Michael Andrews had already been sentenced in October 2005 to18 months in prison and ordered to pay $243,224.00 in restitution after pleading guilty to related identity theft charges. 

Among the many criminal schemes conducted during their stay in Washington State from around 2001 to 2003, the family got overly greedy and even started victimizing several of their fellow Jehovah's Witnesses.  Having prepared Federal Income Tax returns for some JWs, they inflated the W-2s of those JWs, and had the refunds paid to their own accounts, and then either kept the entire refund or kept the inflated amount and paid the correct refund amount to the JWs. The family also submitted several returns using false identities.  Altogether, they stole only about $60,000.00 from the IRS, which corresponds to the restitution Melanie Andrews was ordered to pay.Some of the family had been arrested in Washington State back in 2003, but they even used forged bonds to gain their release. After fleeing Washington State, the family eventually settled in Arizona.

Michael Andrew's wife, "Isis Pellon Andrews", as well as other aliases, is named in media reports as being charged in connection with crimes in California and Arizona, but it is unknown whether she was ever charged in connection with the crimes in Washington State. Given that she was supposedly only 19 years-old in 2005, she possibly could have an "unavailable" juvenile record.

***

ARIZONA v. RAPA and ARIZONA v. ANDREWS.  In 2004, "Mildreada Rapa" and Melanie Andrews were indicted by an Arizona grand jury on 10 counts of fraud, theft, forgery, and identity theft in connection with their impersonation of and employment as Registered Nurses at two renal dialysis clinics. Using stolen identities to gain employment, the JW-Gang then used their employment access to patient records to steal even more identities. They plea bargained down to only one theft count for which the Mother received a sentence of 30 months in jail, and the Daughter received a sentence of 18 months in jail. They also were ordered to pay $32,500.00 in restitution.

***

CALIFORNIA v. NIDIA JIMENEZ BERNAL (Mildreada Andrews), CALIFORNIA v. STEPHANIE MENDOZA (Melanie Andrews), CALIFORNIA v. MICHAEL LEE APODACA (Michael Andrews), and CALIFORNIA v. DEIDRE ANN MENDOZA (Isis Pellon Andrews). Possibly again using forged bonds to gain release in Arizona, the family members were arrested in California in February 2005, where they had set up shop in the Palm Springs area. The three female family members were arrested at medical clinics in Indio and Palm Springs, where they had taken jobs so that they allegedly could steal the identities of patients and co-workers. Michael Andrews allegedly was developing a con related to a pool business.

***

UNITED STATES v. MILDREADA ANDREWS. Sometime in the early 1980s, Mildreada Andrews was charged with passport fraud.

FLORIDA v. MILDREADA ANDREWS. Around 1987, Mildreada Andrews was charged in south Florida with over 100 counts of various frauds and theft.

FLORIDA v. MILDREADA ANDREWS. In 1999, Mildreada Rapa (?) was convicted in Key West, Florida for filing $59,000.00 in fraudulent insurance claims. The Monroe County Prosecutor had been investigating Rapa since the 1987 spree. Sentence unknown

FLORIDA v. MILDREADA MARTINEZ. Under this Florida alias, Mildreada Andrews is currently wanted for parole violation.

FLORIDA v. MARIA ANNA MARTINEZ. Another outstanding Florida warrant under even another alias of Mildreada Andrews.

Even Canadian authorities have said they intend to seek "Mildreada Rapa's" extradition for a credit card fraud committed in Canada around 2000.

******************               ******************
 
 
MORE JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES HONESTY - DISHONESTY CASES ON THE NEXT 5  PAGES
 

<<<------PREVIOUS PAGE----------HOME PAGE----------NEXT PAGE ------>>>