SAN ANGELO, TX -- Local non-profit organization San Angelo Emergency Corps (SAEC) has been a victim of theft, the leader of the non-profit claimed. A probable cause affidavit claims a thief robbed the organization that was founded after the ‘53 Lakeview Tornado, of over $100,000.00.
About one year ago, President of the non-profit organization David Behrend discovered that $104,300.81 had gone missing from the Emergency Corps’ budget. Behrend told police officer John Bouligny about the shocking findings and listed Clinton Pelzel as the thief as he had been the SAEC’s treasurer during the time the thefts occurred. Pelzel said the accusation is false.
Behrend’s suspicion of Pelzel came after a former employer of Pelzel gave Behrend paper documents concerning financial banking statements from First Financial Bank, which held the monies of SAEC.
Upon further inspection, the documents appeared to have been altered by means of cutting with a precision tool and pasting numbers, payee information, and dollar amounts onto the sheets. The previous employer of Pelzel informed Behrend that Pelzel had been fired after he had lied about a doctor’s note. Pelzel had been assigned a desk job at his previous employer, but after he was fired, another employee cleaned out his desk where he found the numerous documents containing SAEC banking information. The previous employer then kept the documents safe until she handed them over to Behrend.
Vice President of SAEC David Wayne Miller stated that Pelzel took over the Corps’ duty as treasurer after his wife, Shannon Pelzel, stopped showing up for meetings. Furthermore, Miller added that Pelzel had not brought requested records in timely matter. Therefore, Miller requested Pelzel bring a copy of the records to him to compare with a copy of records provided separately by Behrend. The two copies were not identical.
Additionally, Miller found checks forged with his signature authorizing funds to be withdraw from SAEC’s bank account to pay a business named “Floors Unlimited”. A copy of financial records for SAEC, from First Financial Bank, and Clinton Pelzel DBA “Floors Unlimited,” from Bank of San Angelo, were requested. The bank statements showed that numerous checks over several years had been written out from the bank account of SAEC and then directly deposited to the account of Clinton Pelzel DBA “Floors Unlimited.”
Court documents show that approximately $104,300.00 in checks were written from SAEC’s account and deposited into Pelzel’s bank account between January 2011 until December 2015.
Pelzel was SAEC’s treasurer from 2011 to early 2016.
However, checks were not the only means of theft. Behrend also has receipts of ATM withdrawals made by the SAEC’s ATM card for items the SAEC would never need or at locations the SAEC never visited, such as California and Arizona.
The ATM withdrawals as well as the forged checks cost the SAEC to lose almost $130,000.00 leaving them with only a few thousand dollars to operate and ultimately forcing them to stop their services. Behrend says, “we are working on getting our organization going again and getting this behind us,” and is hopeful that the SAEC will be able to provide their emergency medical services once again to the community during events such as the Rodeo.
This morning, Clint Pelzel vigorously denied all charges in the affidavit and said the truth will come out during the trial. "I expect to be completely exonerated of these charges," he said.