Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.
QUESTION: In December 2011 Thomas Tanke was found to be guilty of embezzlement. I have found no updates on the case. What, if any, was the outcome for conviction, time served, etc.?
Submitted by: Cindy, Sacramento
ANSWER: Thomas Tanke, the former vice president of a Rancho Cordova construction company, was found guilty in federal court in November of stealing more than $110,000 from the firm.
A jury found Tanke guilty on two counts of mail fraud and five counts of bank fraud.
Tanke initially was to be sentenced March 2, but according to online court records, the sentencing hearing has been postponed to July 6. He's being held in Sacramento County Jail.
According to a story in The Bee, Tanke, 68, claimed that at least part of the money was compensation in lieu of a higher salary, but the owner of Azteca Construction Inc., Rafael Martin, said that was not true.
According to a trial brief filed by the prosecutor, between February and June 2004, Tanke diverted seven checks to his own business bank account even though they were issued by third-party purchasers of equipment and were payable to Azteca, Martin or Construction Equipment Rental & Services, an entity owned by Martin's wife that leased equipment to Azteca.
Tanke also caused approximately 23 Azteca checks to be issued as payments to his personal creditors, and in some instances submitted invoices to suggest that the payments were for legitimate company expenses, according to the brief.
He was accused of using company checks to pay for items including jewelry and an expensive bicycle.