Even further damaging to the politically-connected CPA firm are revelations of what happened after he went to work for the firm and later was promoted to a supervisor position. While working for Somerset CPA, Benker pleaded guilty to a felony drunk driving arrest from March of 2006 in Hamilton County after nearly striking a police officer while traveling 72 mph, more than double the speed limit. The same year he went to work at Somerset, he also filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, listing assets of $8,610 and liabilities of $78,570 according to McLaughlin's report. McLaughlin's report says the 27-year-old Benker lives at home with his mother in Carmel.
Somerset CPA has been heavily involved in promoting and supporting the Penrod Society, which puts on an arts fair at the Indianapolis Museum of Art each year. Pat Early, Somerset's president, once served as head of the organization. Early is currently vice president of the CIB and formerly served as its president. Benker, through the firm's involvement with the nonprofit, became its treasurer in 2007 and became an assistant treasurer in 2008 after turning over his job to another Somerset firm member, Gene Zoellner. Benker continued to have access to Penrod's checking account, however, and took every penny of the organization's $380,000 according to McLaughlin without Zoellner's knowledge. The organization and firm learned of the theft after Benker's attorney, James Voyles, contacted them and told them what Benker had done.
When McLaughlin raised Benker's gambling-related arrests with Early, he described it as a misunderstanding with a roommate. “It was a misunderstanding with his roommate,” Early said. “We had gotten that verified by both attorneys. We had to have a pretty detailed explanation of what happened.” Early grew testy when McLaughlin asked him about Benker's drunk driving arrests. “So does half the young population that went to school,” he said irritably. “What we’re really guilty of in this whole thing is encouraging our people to get involved in the community. “We try to do the best we can to make sure the people working here are all upstanding, good young professionals. … We missed this guy’s personality.”
I'm willing to give Somerset a pass on failing to appreciate Benker's gambling problem when he was first hired, but don't you begin asking questions when an aspiring new CPA at your firm files bankruptcy, gets a felony drunk driving conviction and lives at home with his mom? And that's without asking how nobody noticed the money had disappeared from the organization's bank account until being notified by Benker's attorney, Jim Voyles. None of it inspires much confidence, does it? Laying that aside, I'm disturbed that no criminal charges have been filed against Benker after he confessed to the crime in November. What gives, IMPD?