Ex-Title Company Employee Guilty Of Theft, Fraud

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The Payson man charged with embezzling nearly $140,000 from a local title company in 2000, was found guilty of theft and fraud by a Gila County jury last week.

Whang Suh, 27, was an escrow officer at First American Title Company when he cashed company checks he had written, naming himself as payee, said Deputy Gila County Attorney Patti Wortman.

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Whang Suh

"He made it look like he was writing checks on an escrow account, when he was writing checks to himself instead," she said. "By the time the company realized what happened, (Suh) was gone."

Suh evaded arrest for four years until he was arrested while returning from a trip to London in January 2004, Payson Police Det. Steve Johnson said.

The Port Authority at Newark Airport in New Jersey noted that there was an outstanding warrant against Suh, and he was detained and extradited back to Arizona.

"He had been living in New York, working at an upscale furnishings store on Madison Avenue," Johnson said.

It took the jury three hours to find Suh guilty of three counts of theft and two counts of fraudulent schemes, which are all Class Two felonies, Wortman said.

Wortman said Suh's sentence could include prison time, but the charges don't mandate it.

"At this point, he could get up to five years in prison for each count," Wortman said. "I am going to recommend some prison, I just haven't decided how much yet."

Suh will be sentenced Feb. 16 in Globe.

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