Friday, August 24, 2001

Pair arrested in embezzlement

Mosler suspects found in S.C.

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Federal authorities have arrested a Hamilton couple who were wanted in the embezzlement of more than a quarter-million dollars from Mosler Inc., the Hamilton safe company that closed its doors earlier this month.

        Mosler accounts-payable clerk Billie Jean (Strouth) Morris, 44, and her husband, Lloyd, 61, were arrested Wednesday near Charleston, S.C., after about five months on the run, authorities said.

        Another alleged accomplice, Mr. Morris' brother, Raymond, 60, of Gastonia, N.C., remained at large; a fourth person has admitted involvement and is already serving a jail term.

        The case, which involves a total of about $274,000, occurred amid a crackdown on embezzlements in Butler County.

        Between October and February, authorities allege, Mrs. Morris wrote Mosler checks to three accomplices, who would cash the checks, then give some of the money to Mrs. Morris. None of her alleged conspirators worked at Mosler.

        Mr. and Mrs. Morris were picked up on federal fugitive warrants issued last week through the FBI, Ed Boldt, spokesman for the FBI's Cincinnati office, said Thursday.

        “They were arrested because of some groundwork that was laid here,” Mr. Boldt said.

        He said that Terry Moran, an agent assigned to the FBI's Middletown office, figured that the couple might try to register their child for school. So he alerted Butler County school administrators to inform him of any requests for records on their child, Mr. Boldt said.

        “And that's exactly what happened,” he said. “It was a nice bit of investigative work that led to the arrests.”

        The couple had been wanted on felony-theft warrants since April. Hamilton police and the Butler County Prosecutor's Office enlisted help from the FBI “after it was determined that they had fled the area to avoid prosecution,” Mr. Boldt said.

        Mosler officials, who wouldn't disclose how the theft was discovered, have said that insurance coverage repaid the missing money and that the embezzlement played no part in the company's downfall.


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