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‘You can’t embezzle money that you own.’ Charges dropped against man accused of embezzling nearly $300k

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IDAHO FALLS – The charges against a man who was accused of embezzling almost $300,000 from his shared company have been dismissed without prejudice.

Kevin Wayne Ball, 43, was charged with felony grand theft in January 2019 after his business partner at Alpha Sod says he learned that Ball had allegedly taken undisclosed payments of $272,902.73 during a four-year period and deposited the money into a secret bank account.

The case was closed on July 13 due to a lack of evidence.

RELATED | Man admits to embezzling over $100,000 from company he partially owns, say deputies

“The State no longer believes it can present sufficient evidence to satisfy each element of the charged offense,” the State of Idaho prosecution said in the motion to dismiss.

A detective on the case said it was complex, with more than 300 bank transactions in the span of four years. The case filed includes multiple reports, search warrants, statements, receipts and letters from attorneys.

According to the police reports, Alpha Sod was started by Ball in 2007. The business partner became a 65% owner in 2014, and Ball retained 35% ownership.

The alleged embezzlement was discovered in December 2018 by the business partner after he was trying to find some Farm Service Agency payments. The business partner contacted the FSA, which informed him that payments had been deposited into a bank account he didn’t know about.

In an interview with Bonneville County Sheriff’s deputies, Ball allegedly told them he took the money because he felt he needed to be reimbursed.

When asked if all the money he took was for expenditures or was money his business partner knew about, Ball replied, “I would say probably 90% of it.”

The police reports also state Ball signed a confession letter stating he embezzled “in excess of $100,000 from Alpha Sod.”

Eight days later, an Idaho Falls police report was filed saying Ball told officers his business partner had threatened to “report him to the police for embezzled money if he didn’t sign over his mother’s life insurance policy to him.”

When officers spoke to the business partner, he told them he had “brought up the life insurance policy to Kevin as an asset to make up for the money Kevin had taken. No threat appeared to be made to Kevin.”

Ball’s defense attorney, Patrick Davis, told EastIdahoNews.com that Ball was being set up from the beginning.

“They ambushed the guy,” says Davis. “There’s a group of dudes in the Idaho Falls area who do this, where they’ll partner up with somebody who they see as unsophisticated, and they’ll embroil them in criminal proceedings to bilk them out of their interest in a company. It has happened before.”

Davis says that not only was Ball set up by his business partner, but the original charges of embezzlement would never have stuck anyway.

“The charge they had against Kevin couldn’t stick because you can’t embezzle money that you own,” says Davis. “You can only embezzle money if you have access to money you don’t own. If you have access to your own money, that’s just called spending your money.”

According to Davis, investigators also spoke to the former bookkeeper at Alpha Sod, who told them there was no secret bank account.

Davis says when investigators asked the bookkeeper about Ball’s secret bank account, she was confused and told investigators that both business partners knew about the account and even used it to pay bills.

“So it’s all a big lie,” says Davis. “The prosecutor sent (the details about the bookkeeper) over to me and said, ‘Hey, I’m not comfortable with the case anymore. The main witness is not credible, and the whole lynchpin in the case appears to be falsified from the beginning.'”

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