News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Ex-school board chief arrested on charges linked to embezzlement
May 31, 2012 - By Martin Reed, Staff Writer
After a jury decided in December during civil litigation that former Star-Tech Inc. financial manager Gary Anderson diverted roughly $1.5 million from the Riverton company, authorities on Wednesday booked him into Lander's county jail on criminal embezzlement charges.
Riverton's Circuit Court on Wednesday afternoon reported that Anderson's initial appearance on his criminal charges was set for 1:30 p.m. Thursday, May 31.
The court would not release his charging information prior to his appearance.
Fremont County Attorney Brian Varn confirmed Wednesday that Anderson had been arrested on larceny charges involving embezzlement allegations, but he declined to further comment on the matter.
Lander Police Chief Jim Carey on Thursday morning said his office executed the arrest warrant on Gerald Anderson, 54, of Riverton, at the Fremont County Courthouse.
According to the Lander police dispatch log, the former Riverton school board chairman was arrested shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Carey declined to comment on specifics about Anderson's arrest because the case does not fall under his agency's jurisdiction.
Anderson's arrest indicates that Varn's office is pursuing criminal charges against him following allegations of embezzlement that surfaced in a civil lawsuit filed by Star-Tech owner Charles Starks and his family in 2010.
Precision Analysis proprietors Cory and Heidi Fabrizius initially filed a lawsuit in July 2010 against Anderson that alleged he took money from their company while serving as a financial manager.
Starks, concerning Star-Tech, raised allegations filed in August 2010 that Anderson took more than $2 million while working as his trusted financial manager for the company.
The litigation also named Anderson's wife, Debra, and their son, Scott.
Starks, the grandfather of Cory Fabrizius, in court documents and during the seven-day trial in Lander's Ninth District Court last December accused Anderson of taking excessive compensation.
In his defense, Gary Anderson claimed the existence of an oral agreement with Starks "based, in part, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Saints' united order teaching" that aims "to achieve equality of wealth based upon the industry of the participants," according to court documents in the lawsuit.
During the trial Anderson refused to answer numerous questions involving his work for Starks and Star-Tech, raising his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
The amount awarded by the jury was substantially less than the roughly $4.8 million that Starks and his family had sought. District Judge Norman E. Young near the trial's end ruled that the statute of limitations applied in the civil case, so the parties could not seek damages prior to mid-2006.
Following the jury's decision, Anderson filed for bankruptcy in federal court in Cheyenne in April.
Additionally, Star-Tech on March 29 filed a new lawsuit against wife Debra Anderson and the couple's children, Beth Gard and Scott Anderson. The lawsuit accuses the Anderson family members of concealing or retaining stolen property stemming from the previous verdict.
Gary Anderson's attorney, John Schumacher, just before the trial's start, filed court documents claiming an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service and FBI involving his client.
Schumacher at the time wrote that Gary and Debra Anderson "have been working with the United States to resolve the investigation concerning alleged violations against them" and the couple "are currently in plea negotiations."
The Starks and Fabrizius families have long ties with Gary Anderson, whose full name is Gerald Emil Anderson Jr. Anderson served two years as a Fremont County School District 25 board member and high-ranking leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints locally.
Anderson had held the financial manager position for Star-Tech since 1989, and he performed bookkeeping and payroll services for the Fabrizius companies since about 2007, according to court documents filed in 2010.
Starks in court documents called Anderson his "most trusted financial and business advisor."
The Fabrizius lawsuit noted that "Starks so completely entrusted Anderson with his financial affairs that he appointed Anderson as the sole trustee of his trust and given Anderson complete control" of Star-Tech.
Starks in his lawsuit claimed Anderson went to the Star-Tech offices in late August 2010 over financial concerns with the company and admitted to taking money since 1999.
The result of the financial loss to Starks was Star-Tech's closure "because Anderson claimed the company could not purchase the equipment required to more economically produce rollers," according to the lawsuit.
"Had Defendant-Gary Ander-son not converted Plaintiffs' funds to himself, Plaintiffs would have had the money required to purchase the equipment and would be in business today," the lawsuit states.