If these walls could shop ...
A Bellevue man is accused of bilking his employer out of nearly $768,000 — and stuffing at least $200,000 in cash behind the drywall of his house.
Here's the kicker, according to authorities: Steven S. Molnar, 42, didn't spend a dime of the money he stole from Pitney Bowes Presort Services, an international business that specializes in mail sorting and delivery.
Within a day of being confronted about a theft, Molnar retrieved the cash — $207,000 — from his wall and returned it in a bag, authorities say. He then agreed to transfer the rest of the stolen money from accounts he had set up at various banks across the city.
Local authorities say they've rarely heard of an embezzler hoarding his heist. Yet, investigators say, they've uncovered no gambling addiction. No spending compulsion.
They say Molnar may be nothing more than a miser motivated by a desire for a rainy day fund.
“Unique — in that there isn't some other issue that was driving him to steal the money,” Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said. “I don't know if he was trying to get to a certain amount of money and was storing it away until he could leave or what.”
Molnar, who is expected to turn himself in Friday, could not be reached for comment.
His attorney, Michael Nelson, said his client believed he had resolved the matter.
“It is surprising and perplexing that any allegations would be made after the matter was fully and completely resolved between Mr. Molnar and his employer months ago,” Nelson said. “Even though the state is required to show that a loss was intended, no loss occurred. We fully expect the charges to be dismissed in due order.”
Kleine called it “nonsensical” to suggest that no charges should be brought because “someone paid back what he took ... after he got caught.”
“I don't understand that logic,” he said. “Certainly, the intent was to steal the money when he was hiding it in his walls.”
According to court documents filed by investigators William Mulligan and Lance Ivener:
Molnar, of 2705 Fairview St., worked as an account manager for Pitney Bowes in Omaha.
In 2002, Pitney Bowes completed its acquisition of a mail presort business called PSI Group. Over time, businesses continued to make out payments to PSI Group, rather than to Pitney Bowes.
In January 2011, Molnar set up an account at Great Southern Bank under the name “Steven Molnar, dba (doing business as) PSI Group, Inc.”
He then began to deposit money intended for Pitney Bowes — at least 19 checks — into the personal account he had set up at the bank.
From January 2011 through February 2012, the money piled up: $767,906.
In March 2012, Molnar tried to add another business name to his account. Authorities allege that he was hoping to continue the same scheme with a new company Pitney Bowes had acquired.
Great Southern Bank officials became suspicious.
A bank vice president, Doug Marrs, looked at Molnar's account and saw that he had a balance of more than $300,000. And he had transferred $455,000 more from the account — splitting that up among accounts at four area banks.
On April 16, Marrs confronted Molnar.
Marrs ordered Molnar to return all the money to Great Southern Bank within 72 hours.
The next morning, Molnar was at the bank “with a bag of cash in the amount of $207,000,” the affidavit said. Later in the day, he came by with four cashier's checks totaling $248,421.
Those totals, combined with the balance in the Great Southern Bank account, made up $772,521. Of that amount, Molnar claimed $4,615 was his.
Great Southern Bank wired $767,906 back to Pitney Bowes.
“Molnar originally denied that his activity involving the GSB account was fraudulent but later admitted his involvement in the fraud,” the affidavit said.
Molnar may be the first accused embezzler to make restitution before a charge was brought. He faces one count of theft by deception, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
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