Monday, July 27, 2020

One Dalmation

The Indiana Supreme Court has accepted the resignation of an attorney.

IndyStar reported last month

An Indianapolis attorney has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $40,000 from a private foundation that supports Riley Hospital for Children and spending the money on vacations, jewelry, car and rent payments, groceries and a puppy for his college-student mistress.

Matthew "Matt" R. Breeden, 42, received a suspended one-year sentence after pleading guilty June 10 to a felony charge of theft in Marion Superior Court 15. Court records indicate he made a $42,932 restitution. 

The theft occurred between January and August 2019, according to court records, while Breeden served as chief financial officer for Brownsburg-based RaceTrack Engineering and the DD Foundation. He was charged in March following a five-month investigation.

"Breeden had previously held several executive positions within the racing industry, so it was trusted he was handling affairs properly," an investigator wrote.

The missing money was discovered after Breeden, who had previously worked with INDYCAR and Champ Car, took a new job as president of the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association in July. In an email to IndyStar, CEO Tony Parella said Breeden "has not worked for SVRA for several months."

Trips to Florida, California, local hotels

Breeden's attorney in the criminal case, Linda Pence, issued a statement saying "he is a good person who made a mistake and has done everything possible to make things right.” 

“Mr. Breeden immediately acknowledged his wrongdoing, has repeatedly expressed his deep and genuine remorse for his actions, paid full and complete restitution to the Foundation, and has relinquished his law license," the statement said.

As of Tuesday morning, the Indiana Roll of Attorneys maintained by the state listed Breeden's law license in good standing. 

Court documents filed in the case allege Breeden spent thousands of dollars on trips, hotel stays, gifts and cash payments to a girlfriend. She is identified only by initials and as a student at Indiana State University in Terre Haute. Breeden was married at the time, but his wife filed for divorce in August. The case is pending.

Breeden used electronic transfers, paper checks and a debit card to help pay for trips to Florida and California, as well as local hotel stays with his girlfriend, according to court records. Police found social media posts from the woman that connected some of their travel and other activities with the timing of unauthorized expenditures and purchases later discovered by his former employer.

In one instance, she posted a picture of herself holding a Dalmatian puppy days after Breeden wrote a $1,200 check to a Dalmatian breeder in Illinois. He also used foundation funds to make a $432 purchase from Adore Pet Beds, court records show.

RaceTrack Engineering, a small Hendricks County business, provides "technology systems and design" services to racetracks, and its website lists clients including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Lucas Oil Raceway. Owner Dave Dusick is the namesake of the DD Foundation.

"Thankfully all the money was returned and we can continue to support the children of Riley Hospital, a place that is near and dear to my heart," Dusick, who formerly worked at IMS and is a well-known figure in the racing circles, said in a statement to IndyStar. He is a former Riley patient and hosts an annual fundraiser for the children's hospital.

“The DD Foundation is a not-for-profit entity dedicated to providing support to families that have a child who suffers from life threatening or life altering illness," his statement said. "The missing funds were found by internal auditing and immediate action was taken."

One Year Jail Sentence Suspended

A press release issued when he joined SVRA last year noted Breeden had previuosly served as vice president of business affairs at INDYCAR, "where he managed the series schedule as well as day-to-day relationships with all venues, led sanction agreement negotiations, performed due diligence for new and existing venues, and led pre-event planning and track upgrade timelines as well providing post-event analysis." It said he also had worked as vice president and general counsel of the Champ Car World Series and represented the organization "in its historic merger with INDYCAR to unify top-level North American open-wheel racing."

At his sentencing earlier this month, Magistrate Stanley Kroh cited Breeden's lack of criminal history, remorse and restitution in suspending his one-year jail sentence.

The magistrate's order also said Breeden may petition the court in the future to have the conviction reduced to a misdemeanor if he meets all probation conditions and is not charged with any other crimes.

(Mike Frisch)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2020/07/the-indiana-supreme-court-has-accepted-the-resignation-of-an-attorney-indystar-reported-on-june-30-2012-an-indianapolis-a.html

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