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Former EDH man guilty of embezzling

A former El Dorado Hills man was convicted last week of bank and mail fraud by federal jurors.

Thomas Tanke, 67, was found guilty of two counts of mail fraud and five counts of bank fraud on Nov. 22.

Tanke, while living in El Dorado Hills, was vice president of Rancho Cordova-based Azteca Construction Inc. from July 1999 to July 2004, when he resigned.

Tanke oversaw the company’s east coast division operations from Azteca’s corporate office in Rancho Cordova and conducted construction management for various California projects.

As part of his job responsibilities, Tanke approved payments for vendors and suppliers.

Construction Equipment Rental and Services (CERS) owned much of the construction equipment and trucks that Azteca leased in its operations. Tanke embezzled funds from Azteca and CERS by depositing checks made out to the companies into his own bank account.

He also defrauded Azteca by using Azteca checking accounts to pay for his own personal expenses.

Evidence presented at trial showed that in 2004, when Azteca and CERS were winding down operations and selling off equipment, third party purchasers issued checks to buy the equipment.

Tanke obtained these checks and deposited them into his business bank account. Some of the checks were for more than $30,000.

Tanke fraudulently caused Azteca checks to be issued for payment to his various personal creditors, and in many instances, he signed the checks. In some instances, Tanke submitted false invoices to suggest that the payments were for legitimate company expenses.

In one instance presented during the trial, Tanke submitted invoices for payment to “AFS” purportedly for a construction project. In reality, “AFS” was “Audi Financial Services,” and Tanke was paying for his personal vehicle from company funds.

Tanke also paid off personal credit cards, bought jewelry, and bought an expensive bicycle using company checks.

All told, Tanke embezzled more than $191,000 during his stint with Azteca.

Tanke was remanded into custody after jurors returned with the verdict, but not before United States District Judge Edward J. Garcia noted that the evidence admitted against Tanke at trial was “overwhelming.”

Tanke is scheduled for sentencing on March 15, 2012. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each count of mail fraud, 30 years in prison for each count of bank fraud, and a $250,000 fine for each count.

 

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Posted by on Dec 2 2011.
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