LAKE COUNTY MAN ACCUSED OF EMBEZZLING:SCHOOLS ADMINISTRATOR CHARGED WITH TAKING $100,000 FROM ESTATE
A Lake County schools administrator and former community college dean has
been charged with embezzling more than $100,000 from the estate of a deceased
George Tanner McQueen, 48, of Lakeport, was charged with felony elder
theft, grand theft, forgery and a special allegation the embezzlement
He allegedly spent some of the money to vacation in Europe while donating
thousands of dollars to Yuba Community College. McQueen taught business at the
college's Clearlake campus from 1988 to 1996 and served as its dean from 1996
to 2002, when he resigned to work at the Lake County Office of Education.
The investigation resulted in one of the largest embezzlement cases filed
by the Lake County District Attorney's Office in the past 15 years, District
Attorney Gary Luck said.
''A case of this size is pretty rare,'' Luck said.
There are hundreds of embezzlement cases each year in the county, but only
two or three involve losses close to those alleged in McQueen's case, Luck
said. The exact amount allegedly embezzled has not yet been determined, he
Neither McQueen, who was released after being booked Monday at the county
jail, nor his attorney, Ed Alvord, returned phone calls Thursday.
McQueen allegedly forged checks while he was the executor of the estate for
Lake County resident Robert Provencher, who died in January 2001.
In one case, McQueen allegedly forged the signature of Provencher's mother
in order to cash a check made out to her, said Deputy District Attorney Rachel
Abelson, the prosecutor on the case.
Provencher's family, which resides on the East Coast, had asked McQueen to
be the executor of Provencher's estate after he died, Abelson said.
McQueen had advised Provencher on financial matters and helped him create a
trust. The trust, however, was poorly written and was not valid, Abelson said.
The alleged thefts were discovered when McQueen stepped down as executor of
the estate. The Lake County Public Guardian, which took over the estate, found
irregularities and instigated the probe, she said.
In addition to the alleged thefts from Provencher's estate, McQueen may owe
the estate money he borrowed while Provencher was alive, Abelson said. McQueen
has contended he repaid that money, about $200,000, Abelson said.
McQueen has been placed on administrative leave from the Office of
Education until the case is resolved, said county Superintendent William
Cornelison, who has known McQueen for 20 years, said he was surprised to
learn of the allegations.
''I've always found him to be a very compassionate and caring individual.
I'm certainly very saddened to hear of these charges being filed against
him,'' Cornelison said.
He noted the charges have nothing to do with the Office of Education.
McQueen did not have access to checks or funds as director of the Workforce
Investment and Regional Occupation programs, Cornelison said. Nor did he have
direct access to funds as a Yuba College dean, according to an official.
Abelson said the case is an example of theft by opportunity and a reminder
to choose estate executors carefully.
''You just have to have people you trust,'' she said.
You can reach Staff Writer Glenda Anderson at 462-6473 or
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