FRESNO, Calif. — On Oct. 7, 2021, a grand jury returned an indictment against Kenneth Gould, 65, of Clovis, charging him with bank larceny for stealing over $1 million from a federally insured financial institution, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
The indictment was unsealed today, and Gould will be arraigned tomorrow on Oct. 14.
According to court documents, Gould was a CPA in Clovis who owned and operated a payroll services company. From October 2017 through March 2018, he initiated over 90 fraudulent Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments totaling over $20 million from one of his clients’ accounts to his payroll company’s account at the same bank. An ACH payment is a type of Electronic Funds Transfer used to move money from one bank account to another account.
Based on its prior business relationship with Gould, the bank credited the fraudulent ACH payments to the payroll company’s account before it realized there were insufficient funds to cover the payments, denied them, and attempted to recover its money. Over $1 million of the credited funds, however, was gone because Gould withdrew the money while the payments were pending. Gould withdrew the money in cash, cashier’s checks, and online transfers to other accounts to which he had access. The bank made several demands to Gould for repayment. He repeatedly promised to repay the funds, but never did so.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Barton is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, Gould faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after considering any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account several variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.