Maybe the cash was meant as insulation or insurance — or both.
A Bellevue man pleaded no contest Monday to a theft charge for stealing $768,000 from his employer — and stuffing $207,000 in stolen cash in the drywall of his house.
Steven S. Molnar, 43, faces up to five years of probation or up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced in September.
Appearing in court Monday, Molnar didn't dispute prosecutor Katie Benson's account that he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollar 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 $207,000 in cash 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.
In court, Benson replayed the bizarre case:
Molnar, of 2705 Fairview St. in Bellevue, 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 attempted to add another business name to his account. Authorities say 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 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, banks officials confronted Molnar.
They 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's attorney, Michael Nelson, declined to comment Monday on Molnar's motivation for the theft. Authorities have previously said they saw no signs of a gambling or spending compulsion. Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine suggested that Molnar may have been hoarding the money as a sort of rainy-day insurance fund.
Nelson said he would explain the matter at sentencing.
“It's not just that he paid it back,” Nelson said, “he never spent it.”