Ex-wife ordered to return money husband stole from nonprofit

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A woman whose ex-husband committed suicide after his scheme to steal money from his employer unraveled must pay back to the company money she received from her husband during and after their marriage, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday.

Connie Landers challenged the Tippecanoe Superior Court’s ruling in favor of Wabash Center Inc., a not-for-profit that assists children with developmental disabilities and provides assistance for adults related to living and employment, that she must pay more than $1 million to the agency because her ex-husband stole more than $4 million from his employer.

Stephen McAninch worked for Wabash managing the nonprofit’s finances from 1986 until his death in 2009, during and after his marriage to Landers. He set up a fake company to divert money to and was able to conceal his actions because of his job duties. It wasn’t until an outside auditor in 2009 sought to confirm that the fictitious company actually completed work that Wabash paid for that the scheme was discovered. McAninch killed himself in October 2009, and a forensic accountant discovered that Landers had received some of the stolen money.

She argued that Wabash’s lawsuit, filed in April 2011 for unjust enrichment and other wrongs, should be barred by the statute of limitations because the agency didn’t act with reasonable diligence to discover the theft within the six-year statute of limitations. But there’s sufficient evidence to support the trial court’s conclusion that Wabash acted with ordinary diligence, Senior Judge Randall T. Shepard wrote. McAninch kept false records and invoices, locked in a drawer in his office, and there was no reason to believe McAninch had created false minutes from board meetings. Previous outside audits didn’t raise any red flags.

There’s also evidence that Landers received stolen money. She estimated her ex-husband made around $150,000 a year, which included his “moonlighting” as she called it, which is above the salary McAninch earned. He also agreed in their divorce to pay her above the monthly amount required under the Indiana Child Support Guidelines, gave her $20,000 in the divorce, and paid for the home’s mortgage. Because he had also bought himself a boat, car and other items, he likely spent his own money on those items, meaning Landers received stolen money, the judges concluded in Connie S. Landers v. Wabash Center, Inc., 79A04-1204-CT-191.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. So the prosecutor made an error and the defendants get a full remedy. Just one short paragraph to undo the harm of the erroneous prosecution. Wow. Just wow.

  2. Wake up!!!! Lawyers are useless!! it makes no difference in any way to speak about what is important!! Just dont tell your plans to the "SELFRIGHTEOUS ARROGANT JERKS!! WHO THINK THEY ARE BETTER THAN ANOTHER MAN/WOMAN!!!!!!

  3. Looks like you dont understand Democracy, Civilized Society does not cut a thiefs hands off, becouse now he cant steal or write or feed himself or learn !!! You deserve to be over punished, Many men are mistreated hurt in many ways before a breaking point happens! grow up !!!

  4. It was all that kept us from tyranny. So sad that so few among the elite cared enough to guard the sacred trust. Nobody has a more sacred obligation to obey the law than those who make the law. Sophocles No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we ask him to obey it. Obedience to the law is demanded as a right; not asked as a favor. Theodore Roosevelt That was the ideal ... here is the Hoosier reality: The King can do no wrong. Legal maxim From the Latin 'Rex non potest peccare'. When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal. Richard Nixon

  5. So men who think they are girls at heart can use the lady's potty? Usually the longer line is for the women's loo, so, the ladies may be the ones to experience temporary gender dysphoria, who knows? Is it ok to joke about his or is that hate? I may need a brainwash too, hey! I may just object to my own comment, later, if I get myself properly "oriented"