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Falcon Drilling exec accused of stealing millions from company


The embezzlement case against former Falcon Drilling executive Larry Winckler of Indiana will be prosecuted in federal court, after local authorities yesterday withdrew charges of theft and receiving stolen property against him.  Indiana County District Attorney Pat Dougherty confirmed that Winckler’s case will be handled by the office of U.S. Attorney David Hickton and will be adjudicated in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh.


The 52-year-old Winckler is accused of stealing as much as $5 million, and state police investigators have said that it may be even more than that.  Experts continue to comb through Falcon Drilling’s books to determine how much money is missing from company accounts.


The case came to light when former company controller Cheryl Brooks and her attorney Chris Welch showed up on February 10th at Dougherty’s office and confessed that she and Winckler had been writing checks to themselves since 2005.  She said Winckler had tearfully come to her saying he needed thousands of dollars to meet his debts, and that over the next seven years he kept coming back, and eventually it “snowballed” to the point where she was writing checks for Winckler and for herself.  She has not been charged.  Police say Winckler spent much of the money at casinos and country clubs.


U.S. Attorney Hickton’s office has not commented publicly on the case.  Cases involving large amnounts of stolen money often are transferred to federal courts because of the tax evasion ramifications.

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