Until last week, we knew only of two checks Patrick Onyemechara is accused of cashing then keeping the money. But today sources close to the investigation told me they now suspect he cashed as many as 80 checks, starting as early as 2003. So investigators say there's no telling how many city businesses and government agencies have been affected.
Larry Nelms, the owner of Furniture Plus today says he can't believe that More than 45 thousand dollars worth of tax payments he made to the city in the form of checks has disappeared. Investigators believe those vanished payments along with at least 80 other checks meant for the city's bank account, instead made their way into the pocket of Monroe Tax Director Patrick Onyemechara.
Since 2003, investigators say the tax director would take tax checks made out to the city -- have a cashier cash the checks -- then take the money... which was never seen again. Investigators now believe the Nigeria native could have pocketed at the very least, 300 thousand dollars. Affecting a countless number of city businesses, government agencies and the city itself.
For years Onyemechara was Monroe's city auditor, until he was promoted to the city tax director. Originally from Nigeria, he's a man who has only been a U.S. citizen for about five months. But why is this important? Investigators believe there are strong ties between Onyemechara and his homeland Nigeria. They say he's taken numerous trips there recently. Investigators say there's evidence of several money transactions. And they say Onyemechara may have even shipped a vehicle -- a Landrover overseas to his brother in Nigeria.