Detectives say accounting manager Michael Cougill embezzles over $500K from company

2:16 PM, Nov 1, 2012   |    comments
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Dade City, Florida -- An accounting manager faces embezzlement charges after investigators say he stole more than $500,000 from a local air conditioning and electric company.

Pasco County detectives say while Michael Cougill was the accounting manager at Schmitt, Inc., an air conditioning and electric company, he embezzled money for his own personal use.

Owner Daniel Schmitt told police he discovered Cougill had forged and cashed fraudulent checks in order to get cash, forged checks to pay personal bills and items on multiple bank accounts, failed to make multiple cash deposits given to him by the company and kept it for himself, obtained a debit card from a SunTrust checking account and Synovus Visa credit line and made hundreds of thousands of dollars in purchases and fraudulently applied for a Chase credit card in Schmitt's name and used that also to make thousands of dollars in purchases.

During the investigation, surveillance video showed Cougill made multiple cash withdrawals with a debit card from the SunTrust business checking account he got without Schmitt's knowledge.

Several invoices were obtained showing Cougill paid for personal loans, home repairs, homeowner's insurance, and vehicle payments with business checks where he forged Schmitt's name.

Payment confirmations were also found from Schmitt's business-related email account showing Cougill bought multiple cruise tickets, airline tickets, and stays at high-dollar hotels for himself, as well as family members and friends, using the company's credit line with Synovus Bank.

Bank records were also recovered showing Cougill failed to make cash deposits at Synovus Bank during times he was given tens of thousands of dollars in cash to deposit into the company's checking account.

The investigation ultimately revealed Cougill embezzled approximately $535,000 from the company from October 2010 and July 2012 while employed with Schmitt, Inc.

Cougill, 44, reportedly admitted to the crime to detectives and was charged with first degree embezzlement.

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