The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

February 15, 2012

FBI, IRS may join investigation of embezzlement

INDIANA — Authorities on Wednesday beefed up their investigation into what is feared to be a $5 million embezzlement at Falcon Drilling Inc. on Route 119.

A meeting was held including the FBI, U.S. Attorney’s office, Internal Revenue Service, state police and the Indiana County District Attorney’s office.

“We’re right at the beginning of a very intensive investigation,” said Trooper John Matchik, a state police spokesman.

He said the meeting was to determine how to proceed, including the possibility that federal authorities may take over the probe because of its scope.

Police this week charged Larry D. Winckler, 51, of Indiana, with several dozen counts of theft and receiving stolen property.

Winckler – who worked as the drilling manager for Falcon, a Marcellus Shale gas drilling company – is charged with stealing $955,000.

But police think $5 million might have been stolen, primarily by Winckler.

One of his underlings at the company, controller Cheryl Brooks, admitted to police she also was involved in the embezzlement.

She said she took about $200,000 at most.

Brooks has not been charged.

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