The Marion County prosecutor today filed felony theft and forgery charges against a former Penrod Society official accused of stealing nearly $382,000 from the arts group last year.Benker's alleged exploits are the result of a gambling addiction he had according to his attorney, James Voyles. Murray's story notes that the Penrod Society is pursing a civil suit against him to recover the lost funds that nearly left the organization bankrupt. Oddly, the suit did not name Somerset CPAs as a defendant in its capacity as a respondeat superior. Benker became involved in his work as the organization's treasurer as a result of his employment at Somerset, which provided pro bono accounting services for the Penrod Society. Somerset is headed up by Pat Early, the long-time officer and board member of the CIB during nearly ten years of deficit spending by the CIB, who is pushing for a $15 million a year additional subsidy to the billionaire Simon family's Indiana Pacers.
Brandon Benker, 28, a former volunteer treasurer, faces one count of theft and seven counts of forgery in Marion Superior Court. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi said he now lives in Tennessee and was arranging to turn himself in through his attorney.
If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Benker's alleged exploits last year left the Penrod Society, which puts on the Penrod Arts Fair each September, tottering on the edge of bankruptcy. He is accused of writing and cashing checks using another official's forged signature, redeeming a $50,000 certificate of deposit and making off with most of the proceeds of the 2008 art fair.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Benker Finally Charged By Prosecutor
Nearly ten months after his attorney first alerted authorities that 28-year-old Brandon Benker, an accountant with the firm of Somerset CPAs, had stolen $382,000 from the Penrod Society, Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi has finally brought charges against him. The Star's Jon Murray writes: