Poker player grabs cash, leads police on chase

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A 78-year-old Flint man has been accused of stealing more than $38,000 from a church charity fund.

David Lee Thiese Sr. was charged with one 10-year felony count of embezzlement of $20,000 to $50,000. He also faces three 10-year felony counts of embezzlement of $1,000 to $20,000 from a nonprofit or charitable organization. Each count also carries a possible penalty of $15,000 or three times the amount embezzled.

Investigators said Thiese deposited money from St. Pius X Church’s charity game into an account he controlled. Investigators believe the charities earned nearly $60,000 combined net profit. However, Theise allegedly shared with the charities only $22,900 in earnings from the events.

“The charitable organizations allegedly did not maintain proper oversight and accounting of their funds,” said Richard Kalm, executive director of the Michigan Gaming Control Board. “It’s important for charities to have more than one person oversee and control accounts and to conduct periodic audits. By taking these steps, charities can reduce the chance of fraud.”

Thiese was the event chairperson for 28 charitable poker events held in the Flint area between 2012 and 2014.

Investigators said he kept the money for personal use.

The charges followed a Michigan Gaming Control Board investigation of events held at the former Gloria’s Poker Palace, Lucky’s Poker Room and Pocket Aces.

Copyright 2017 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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