Accountant Causes CEO Death

CEO of S.C Hospitality Association Tom Sponseller committed suicide after he found out that his accountant was the person responsible for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund her internet gambling exploits.

Sponseller’s body was discovered in an underground parking lot in a storage room after he was reported missing for 10 days. He left a suicide note stating that Rachel Duncan, the Association’s former director of finance was the person responsible for stealing large amounts of cash from the trade body. He added that he felt responsible for the theft since it occurred on his watch, and that Duncan wired more then $300,000 of the trade association’s funds through her personal checking account to offshore accounts which she used to finance her internet gambling activities.

Apparently Duncan confessed her crime to Sponseller, this news came as a shock to him as he had trusted her implicitly for 11 years and never suspected that she had a gambling problem let alone a thief. To date Duncan and her lawyer have not released a statement yet, however, the U.S. Secret Service said that it is currently investigating the charges brought in against Duncan, and no charges have been filed against her yet. Bill Nettles, the U.S. Attorney for South Carolina, said: “This is an ongoing investigation.”

A trade group representing the state’s hotels and restaurants confirmed that the sum of $480,000 had been stolen from S.C. Hospitality Association between 2009 and 2012, in the meantime the auditors confirmed that Duncan stole the money. Association officials said that although there is no “clear evidence” that Sponseller took any of the money, he must have been aware that it has gone missing.

In his suicide letter, Sponseller wrote that Duncan told him that the police approached her two weeks earlier with regard to the stolen funds: “Rachel has told me she is going to cooperate in any way possible to minimize or avoid jail. “She also led me to believe (there) might be a chance to recover some of her gambling funds from the internet casino where she wagered at,” he wrote, adding that insurance policies could be found in Duncan’s office that would cover some of the Hospitality Association’s losses, but sadly enough, according to the Association officials, those policies would cover about $20,000, less than 5 percent of what has been reported missing.”



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