Co-Religionists Embezzled $2M, Firm Says

SALT LAKE CITY (CN) – A company claims its father-and-sons accountants embezzled more than $2 million, abusing their religious ties with the company president. Claredi Corp. claims Moran & Sons, run by the “highly esteemed” Pablo Moran Sr. and his sons Pablo Jr. and Carlos, swiped money for more than a decade.

     Claredi, a health care data compliance testing and certification service, says Moran & Sons did its accounting, paid the bills and provided other financial services from Claredi’s founding in 2000 until early this year.
     Claredi claims Moran abused the trust of his fellow Mormon, Claredi’s president, to drain corporate accounts to the tune of $200,000 a year, via forged checks and personal credit card payments.
     In his federal complaint, Claredi president Kepa Zubeldia says he discovered irregularities in the company’s Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act banking records in 2010.
     After investigating, Zubeldia says, he concluded that the Morans misappropriated more than $2 million, overcharged him and billed Claredi for services they never performed.
     He claims the Morans, “highly esteemed members” of the Latter-day Saints, used their common faith to abuse their relationship. Claredi says Carlos Sr. served in church leadership positions, including bishop and stake patriarch.
     Zubeldia says he was taught and baptized by Carlos Jr., and received a patriarchal blessing from Carlos Sr. The blessing is like a prayer in the LDS Church, and is recited by a stake patriarch for “worthy” members.
     “It was represented to Kepa Zubeldia that he had been adopted into the Moran family. A relationship of trust existed between Claredi and Moran & Sons,” the complaint states.
     But Zubeldia adds, “The relationship of trust was exploited by Pablo Moran Sr., Pablo Moran Jr. and Carlos Moran individually and jointly since all three individuals were highly esteemed members of the L.D.S. faith. …
     “Given the high L.D.S. calling of each of the Morans the maximum trust had been granted to them by Kepa Zubeldia in every aspect of his business and personal relationships with the Morans.”
     Zubeldia says he had made the Morans members of his corporate family, acceding to their desire for a 2 percent equity interest in Claredi, in return for which they promised to give the company “preferential treatment,” including cheaper rates than Moran & Sons’ other clients.
     “Moran & Son’s principals were de facto financial officers of Claredi, with full check writing and money transfer authority” on its bank account, Zubeldia says.
     In return, he says, “Pablo Sr., Pablo Jr. and Carlos prepared budgets that included purposeful overcharges for services that had not been rendered.
     “Pablo Jr. wrote checks to Moran & Sons and to ‘Moran’ for fictitious charges and then endorsed those checks and deposited them into his personal bank account.
     “Pablo Jr. paid his personal credit card with Claredi’s funds.
     “Defendants treated Claredi’s Kaysville Utah checking account as their own. …
     “Furthermore, the defendants went so far as to assure Zubeldia that the charges Moran & Sons were making to Claredi were appropriate, reasonable and necessary, and were at a substantially reduced rate from charges made to Moran & Sons’ other clients.”
     Claredi seeks disgorgement and damages for fraud, negligence, breach of contract and conspiracy.
     It is represented by Robert Archuleta of West Valley City.

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