Former CEO charged with embezzling more than $100K from nonprofit

Troopers issued an arrest warrant Tuesday for a former CEO accused of embezzling more than $100,000 from a non-profit company in Lincoln County, West Virginia. (Source: WSAZ)
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LINCOLN COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Troopers issued an arrest warrant Tuesday for a former CEO accused of embezzling more than $100,000 from a nonprofit company in Lincoln County, West Virginia.

Brian Crist, 50, of St. Clairsville, Ohio, is facing charges of embezzlement, falsifying accounts, obtaining money by false pretense, and computer fraud -- all felonies. Investigators say Crist had multiple homes in Lincoln County, but recently moved to Ohio.

According to the criminal complaint, Crist was the chief executive officer of Lincoln County Primary Care Center Inc. between 2001 and 2018. During that time, investigators say he exploited his position and intentionally diverted money, services, and property "for his own personal use and financial gain."

Over the years, Crist allegedly made personal purchases with a company credit card. A majority of the purchases were made in Lincoln, Cabell, Putnam, Logan, and Kanawha counties, according to the criminal complaint.

West Virginia State Police troopers say Crist spent thousands of dollars on home improvement supplies for two personal homes in Lincoln County. The criminal complaint states his purchases included decorative ceiling fans, lights, rocking chairs, paint, building supplies, and decorative sink and bath fixtures.

The complaint goes on to say Crist also bought nearly $1,000 worth of Orioles baseball memorabilia and baseball equipment from a store in Virginia Beach. Troopers say he also bought thousands of dollars worth of power tools, golf equipment, band equipment, iPhones, Beats headphones and accessories, and a Bose radio.

All of these items were for Crist's personal use or his family's use, according to WVSP.

"These purchases were not reimbursed, not business related, not authorized by the LCPCC Board, and in direct violation of the company's credit card usage policy," a trooper wrote in the criminal complaint.

Troopers say he also bought two full size flatbed trailers in 2013 and 2015. Together, they totaled more than $1,000. "After purchasing the trailers, the defendant had the trailers titled in his own name and not the company name," court records state.

In addition to buying items, troopers say Crist also instructed company employees to work on personal home renovations in Lincoln County. "The aforementioned construction work was completed during regular work hours while staff was supposed to be performing work duties on the LCPCC sites," the complaint continues. "The defendant, without the approval of the Board, directed and used company personnel, company supplies, and company equipment to renovate, construct, update, and otherwise work on his personal residence during this two year period, thus enriching himself at the expense of this non-profit entity."

After making these purchases and instructing employees to work on his home, troopers say Crist tried to cover up the crimes. He allegedly lied on "time sheet" documents and other paperwork related to the embezzlement. Troopers say that directly resulted in falsified tax returns as well.

Crist is charged with computer fraud for allegedly accessing several computer networks -- including the network for LCPCC's payroll system and the networks used for each fraudulent credit card swipe -- to carry out the scheme.

In addition to physical evidence and records, troopers say witnesses backed up the allegations, "The aforementioned allegations are supported by the defendant's statements, co-conspirator statements, statements made by multiple individuals and witnesses employed by and directly affiliated with LCPCC who provided credible and corroborate testimony regarding the defendant and his unlawful actions," an investigator explained in the court documents.