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Former Shelbyville office manager charged with embezzlement

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A former office manager of a title insurance company in Shelbyville is facing federal charges relating to his alleged embezzlement of $1.6 million from the business.

Federal prosecutors in Indianapolis charged John Keith Branam, 55, of Shelbyville, on Thursday with one count each of bank fraud, money laundering and filing false individual income tax returns.

The charges stem from an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service and the Shelbyville Police Department.

Branam served as office manager of King’s Title & Abstract Co. in Shelbyville from 1996 until 2007, when he was terminated, according to U.S. District Court documents.

In 2004, Branam allegedly began embezzling money from the company by opening bank accounts using several fictitious business names, including Branam Properties, Rocksolid Investments and King’s, the documents said.

Branam had signatory authority over the King’s Title escrow account, in which he either wrote King’s Title checks to his fictitious companies, or used checks to purchase cashier's checks or official checks payable to the companies, prosecutors allege. Branam then deposited those checks into his bank accounts.

In early 2005, he was removed as a signatory on the King’s Title bank account, but prosecutors said he continued to embezzle money from the company by getting an office employee, who had signature authority, to provide him blank signed checks.

The employee was unaware of the embezzlement and believed Branam needed the checks to pay title company expenses and conduct title company business, according to court documents.

From 2004 to 2007, prosecutors said, Branam obtained a total of $1.6 million, on which he failed to pay $360,000 in income taxes.

He faces a maximum sentence of 43 years in prison and a fine of $1.5 million.
 

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  1. Those of you yelling to deport them all should at least understand that the law allows minors (if not from a bordering country) to argue for asylum. If you don't like the law, you can petition Congress to change it. But you can't blindly scream that they all need to be deported now, unless you want your government to just decide which laws to follow and which to ignore.

  2. 52,000 children in a country with a population of nearly 300 million is decimal dust or a nano-amount of people that can be easily absorbed. In addition, the flow of children from central American countries is decreasing. BL - the country can easily absorb these children while at the same time trying to discourage more children from coming. There is tension between economic concerns and the values of Judeo-Christian believers. But, I cannot see how the economic argument can stand up against the values of the believers, which most people in this country espouse (but perhaps don't practice). The Governor, who is an alleged religious man and a family man, seems to favor the economic argument; I do not see how his position is tenable under the circumstances. Yes, this is a complicated situation made worse by politics but....these are helpless children without parents and many want to simply "ship" them back to who knows where. Where are our Hoosier hearts? I thought the term Hoosier was synonymous with hospitable.

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