fresno federal court

published on October 14, 2021 - 10:24 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

A retired Clovis CPA is accused of electronically stealing more than $1 million from a bank in 2017.

A grand jury returned an indictment last week against Kenneth Gould, a 65-year-old retired CPA from Clovis, charging him with bank larceny. He is due to be arraigned in federal court in Fresno today.

Gould operated a payroll services company, according to court documents. From October 2017 to March 2018, he’s accused of initiating more than 90 fraudulent Automated Clearing House payments from one of his clients’ accounts to his payroll company’s account. The Automated Clearing House payment is a type of electronic transfer used to move money from one bank account to another. He and his client shared the same bank. 

The payments totaled more than $20 million, though everything was recovered except about $1 million. Gould withdrew the $1 million while the payments were pending, according to court documents.

The bank credited the fraud payments to the payroll company’s account, based on its prior business relationship with Gould’s company. The bank realized there were not enough funds to cover the payments, then denied them and attempted to recover the money. 

Gould is accused of withdrawing the money in cash, cashier’s checks and online transfers to other accounts where he had access. Though he said he would return the money after the bank repeatedly asked for it back, he never returned it, according to the indictment.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Barton is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Gould faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. 

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