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Bookstore director pleads guilty to embezzlement

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Posted: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 3:39 pm | Updated: 11:01 am, Tue Apr 2, 2013.

Former Missouri State University bookstore director Mark Brixey pleaded guilty this morning to embezzling more than $1.1 million from the university.

Brixey, 48, of Ozark, Mo., was charged in U.S. District Court on Tuesday morning and pleaded guilty to charges of theft, money laundering and filing a false income tax return. He waived his right to a trial and now awaits sentencing.

Brixey admitted to stealing $1,163,237.39 from MSU by “pocketing money from the university textbook buy-back program,” U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson said in a press conference at Hammons Tower on Tuesday afternoon.

Brixey engaged in a “10-year long scheme of deceit and theft,” she said, using funds meant for the university for his personal benefit beginning in 2003 with a theft of $28,946 and escalating each year. Brixey made his final theft in 2012 of $20,580.96 just before his resignation in August, according to court documents.

“He repeatedly abused his position and exploited the weaknesses of the university’s accounting system in stealing $1.1 million,” Dickinson said.

Brixey’s scheme involved cashing checks made out to the university from Follet Educational Services at the MSU Bursar’s Office, according to court documents.

At the end of each semester, students can sell their textbooks to Follet Educational Services through the MSU Bookstore, which in turn paid a commission to MSU based on those sales. Follet wrote checks to Brixey, who then cashed them at the MSU Bursar’s Office.

Brixey told Bursar’s Office workers that he needed the cash for student book buy-backs, Dickinson said.

Brixey would then deposit the money “little-by-little to avoid detection” into his personal credit union account at Educational Community Credit Union, Dickinson said.

“Brixey admitted today, in federal court, that all of that cash was actually used for his own personal benefit,” she said.

The theft escalated each year “maxing out in 2010 and 2011 with over $190,000” and another theft of $20,000 before his resignation in 2012, Dickinson said.

The federal government was able to recover $144,000 of the stolen funds in the form of certificates of deposit that Brixey had purchased, Dickinson said.

Brixey resigned from the university in August after auditors discovered more than $500,000 missing and found $81,000 in cash in Brixey’s desk at the bookstore.

MSU President Clif Smart gave a press conference in August announcing that Brixey had resigned and that the university suspected him of embezzling funds from MSU.

The university was prohibited from releasing more information, including the results of the audit, which had detected the stolen funds originally, until Tuesday because it was told it would compromise the investigation, Smart said at Tuesday’s press conference.

“On one hand, I regret not being able to fully disclose all of the details earlier,” he said. “However, in this instance, advancing the criminal investigation was the primary goal, and we were able to accomplish that.”

MSU cooperated fully in the investigation, which involved the U.S. Secret Service, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, the Springfield Police Department and the Greene County prosecuting attorney.

The university has also filed an employee theft insurance claim, Smart said.

“We are confident we will be able to recover the funds that were missing through the insurance claim and through restitution,” he said, explaining that MSU has an employee theft coverage of $1 million.

The university has also taken corrective actions to prevent future thefts from the university bookstore by employees, Smart said, including segregating duties of the manager, the textbook manager and the operating manager, which were formerly all done by Brixey.

Further steps include a daily review of the bookstore’s daily report by the university’s Financial Services Division, a change in policy at the Bursar’s Office so checks made out to the university cannot be cashed, and formalizing of all contracts with university bookstore, Smart said.

As part of his plea agreement, Brixey will not be charged with any additional charges and neither will his wife, also an employee at the university, according to court documents.

Brixey could face up to 43 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine and an order of restitution. He also must forfeit to the government $1,163,237, the total proceeds of the wire fraud scheme.

Brixey is currently out on bond and is awaiting sentencing. A hearing will be scheduled after the U.S. Probation Office completes an investigation.

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7 comments:

  • Heather Whitley posted at 5:28 am on Tue, Mar 24, 2015.

    Heather Whitley Posts: 57

    It is hard to believe that a man in his position could commit such a crime. However, such criminals should get the punishment they deserve. You have the right to defend yourself with the help of law if someone harms you in any manner. For instance, if you have been injured in a car accident then you should immediately hire a good auto injury lawyer in Bronx to file your case.

     
  • Steven Blankenship posted at 7:55 am on Thu, Mar 19, 2015.

    Steven Blankenship Posts: 45

    It was a serious offense, he has been misappropriating money for such a long time. However, to handle such complicated legal problems it is essential to appoint skilled attorneys. These days most attorneys and law firms could be found online along with firms which offer court reporting in Miami.

     
  • David Poteet posted at 5:36 am on Wed, Mar 18, 2015.

    David Poteet Posts: 76

    He has committed a serious crime and now he deserves this punishment. But often people get involved in such cases without having any fault. So in such situations one should hire a good lawyer to defend him. Now most attorneys could be found online, at http://www.perdiemattorneys.com you can find per diem attorney.

     
  • marvinvinn posted at 3:49 am on Wed, Mar 11, 2015.

    marvinvinn Posts: 41

    This is a big amount of money! Too bad that these days, many people don't know nothing about how to plan their personal finances to have something to gain from it. A professional and experienced investment advisor Katy could help anyone, businessmen or an individual, to invest his money and plan his finances in the long term. There are some people who already have a good collaboration with their advisor, but more people should find such a reliable person to help them with this matter.

     
  • David Poteet posted at 6:11 am on Fri, Mar 6, 2015.

    David Poteet Posts: 76

    He has embezzled quite a huge amount of money and now he should face the consequences. But often people get harassed because of false charges and they even face punishment for that. In such situations it is best to hire a reputed lawyer for defense. If on the other hand you have been injured in an accident then you should file a personal injury case and you can find the help you need at http://www.personalinjurylawyerllc.com/.

     
  • Heather Whitley posted at 12:19 am on Tue, Mar 3, 2015.

    Heather Whitley Posts: 57

    He has done some serious crimes here and he deserves strict punishment. It is really vital to be aware of your rights so that you can defend these rights with the help of law, now accessing a lawyer has become even more simpler, you just have to go online to find the lawyer you need. For instance, if you need a personal injury lawyer in Manchester then you can find him online in a jiffy.

     
  • David Poteet posted at 10:38 pm on Mon, Mar 2, 2015.

    David Poteet Posts: 76

    Incidents like this could certainly shake the faith of people, but it would be better not to trust anyone with such vital responsibilities. If you buy your insurance policy from any insurance agency then you might face problems clearing your insurance claims.