A Hollidaysburg man is accused of embezzling nearly $400,000 while working as an accountant for a local law firm.
Adam Wayne Bush, 41, was arraigned Wednesday before Magistrate District Judge Benjamin F. Jones for felony forgery, identity theft, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, criminal use of a means of communication and of an access device used without authorization with an offense of possession of an access device knowing counterfeit, altered. He was released on $100,000 bail and is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing Nov. 30 before Jones.
According to court documents, Bush had worked as an accountant for law firm Goldstein & Heslop since 2015 and began working part-time in May 2022. Soon after, the owners of the firm began having problems with payment bills. on time.
On September 12, a Citizens credit card bill, with a balance of over $29,000, was discovered. The card was due to be canceled in April, the owners said.
While reviewing the account, an owner told police that cash advances had been made on the card. When the owner contacted Bush, he reportedly sent a text message saying he had made the cash advances to make payroll, among other apologies.
Bush reportedly texted the owner, “I will put things on your chair after work. I screwed up and I’m going to fix everything. The owners of the law firm told Bush to return his key and other firm property, and Bush was denied access to the building.
An audit of the law firm’s bank accounts reportedly showed that Bush issued unauthorized/forged checks to the main checking account. It has been reported that 62 checks totaling $273,173.26 were forged, with the oldest dated May 2019. The majority of the checks were made payable to Bush and counterfeited with the signature of someone who had taken his retirement from the company in 2018.
Further examination of the credit card revealed a total of 187 unauthorized cash advances totaling $98,560.50. Additionally, the law firm paid $10,550.28 in interest on the statement fees on the card and it continued to accrue monthly.
Police say the law firm’s total loss/theft was $382,279.04.
During an interview with Altoona police on October 4, Bush said he was struggling financially and was desperate. He told police that at one point he was paying two mortgages, supporting four children and paying child support.
Police said, when asked, Bush did not know how much he had taken, stating, “I obviously didn’t keep track.”
According to the probable cause affidavit, Bush told police he had used the money to pay bills, but police learned of a house he had purchased and began renovating it. completely, with some of the law firm’s checks going to the home improvement company working on the house.
Bush allegedly told police that he transferred money from the law firm’s trust account used to pay settlements/withhold funds for clients because the main operating account did not have enough funds to make payroll due to his actions, according to court documents.