Canine search and rescue group’s treasurer admits stealing $150,000

A Connecticut man has pleaded guilty in federal court to embezzling more than $150,000 from a canine search and rescue organization, where he was treasurer.

Thomas Recck, 50, of New Britain, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty Feb. 4 to fraud and tax charges stemming from the embezzlement scheme.

Used for gambling, personal expenses

According to court documents and statements made in court, Recck was the treasurer for Connecticut Canine Search and Rescue Inc. (CCSAR) in Kensington, a volunteer-based nonprofit organization dedicated to the search and rescue of missing and lost persons in the United States by using trained search and rescue dogs.

In his capacity as treasurer, Recck had access to the bank accounts of CCSAR.

From about January 2008 to August 2012, Recck transferred $150,330 from CCSAR accounts into a separate account that he controlled and used the funds to gamble and for other personal expenses, federal prosecutors said.

Recck also failed to report the stolen funds on his federal tax returns, according to prosecutors.

Faces up to 23 years in prison

Recck pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, and one count of filing a false tax return, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of three years.

Sentencing has been scheduled for April 29 in Bridgeport federal court. Following his guilty plea, Recck was released on bond.

He has agreed to full restitution, as well as back taxes, penalties and interest for the 2008 through 2012 tax years.

IRS helped with investigation

The investigation is being conducted by the Connecticut Financial Crimes Task Force, the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division, and the Greenwich Police Department.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas P. Morabito from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Connecticut.