James Harry Fluch Accused of Embezzling $822,000 From Buddy's Business to Fund Lavish Lifestyle

Categories: Crime-iny
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A former Rancho Santa Margarita accounting consultant is scheduled to be arraigned in Santa Ana today for allegedly embezzling $822,000 from a longtime friend's company, using the ill-gotten money to pay off seven credit cards that racked up charges for gasoline, bar tabs, restaurant bills, cable television, a country club membership, auto and health insurance plans, a FasTrak transponder, goods from Lowe's, Joanne, Nordstrom, Radioshack, Home Depot and Roger Dunn Golf, and trips to Texas, Florida, Nevada and Washington that included airfare, food, car rentals, casino visits and other entertainment.

James Harry Fluch, 64, could get up to 114 years and eight months in state prison if convicted of the 156 felony counts against him.

The charges center on computer access and fraud with sentencing enhancements for property loss over $200,000 and aggravated while collar crime over $100,000.

FasTrak-transponder.jpg
Fluch allegedly used ill-gotten money to pay for his FasTrak transponder.
From 1990 to 2011, Fluch was the "finance executive" with Checkpoint Communications, an Irvine company owned by his longtime pal, J. A. "Andy" Shoal. According to the company profile:

Checkpoint Communications Inc. is a licensed communications wiring contractor specializing in the design and installation of premises wiring systems for voice and data communications. The company's headquarters is located in Southern California with operations throughout the Western United States. Checkpoint Communications was established in 1987 by J.A. "Andy" Shoaff, a data processing executive with more than 30 years of experience, and James Shoaff, a certified voice/data communications network design engineer.

Fluch's role managing Checkpoint's finances had him overseeing bank accounts, payroll and bookkeeping. He is accused of transferring money out of the company's escrow account and into his personal bank account 156 times between Jan. 19, 2006, and Jan. 14, 2010, allegedly hiding the transactions by over-reporting payroll. Fluch is accused of using the money he stole to pay off his seven credit cards, cover cash advances on those cards and to balance out about $13,000 on his wife's American Express card.

A company audit this past January exposed Fluch's transfers. The Irvine Police Department was alerted and an investigation was launched. In the meantime, Fluch had moved to Portland, Oregon. He was arrested at his home there on May 9 and extradited first to Sacramento before continuing on to Orange County.

He was being held at Orange County Jail on $822,000 bail. He was required to prove the money came from legal and legitimate source before posting bond.

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10 comments
Dweezle.Di
Dweezle.Di

Now imagine what would happen if this was done by an Orange County Employee, well a senior OC employee with republican ties I meant... listen to the crickets chirp

Tbplayer
Tbplayer

His bail amount is exactly equal to the amount he's accused of embezzling?  Is this an error in reporting?  Or a judge with a sense of humor?  Is this normal in these cases?

Tbplayer
Tbplayer

You'd think there'd be more than one audit every 5 years.

Unclear:  Did he move to Portland AFTER the audit exposed his ill-gotten gains and before Irvine's finest completed his investigation?  The phrase "In the meantime" is kind of vague, as I'm not sure when that meantime began..

lishuzheng
lishuzheng

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Buy addresses----  tntn.usTips (48 hours after the special product is invalid)  

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lishuzheng
lishuzheng

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Danath01
Danath01

Hey execs start random check'g of your business accounts..........idiots!

Matthew T. Coker
Matthew T. Coker

Snap, I take that back: I thought you were referring to a possible fine if convicted, which is often the amount stolen (at least). 

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