Lincoln police have arrested a Crete man accused of embezzling more than $1.1 million from a local contractor.

Mark M. Ackerman of Crete was taken into custody in the case Thursday. He is charged with theft by unlawful taking of more than $5,000, a felony.

The alleged embezzlement was reported to Lincoln police Oct. 15 by Ackerman, according to the probable cause affidavit.

According to the affidavit, Ackerman told police that while working as the office manager, he diverted funds from the contractor's bank accounts into his personal accounts, through electronic transfers and, on a few occasions, paper checks.

LPD's investigation showed that more than $1.1 million may have been deposited in Ackerman's account, the affidavit said. 

Ackerman appeared in court on Wednesday and Judge Timothy C. Philips set his bond at $15,000, of which he needed to pay 10 percent to be released. He bonded out shortly after the hearing. 

Last month, Vertical Horizons Contracting Inc., or VHC, filed a lawsuit against Ackerman, which has since been amended, asking a Lancaster County District judge to order him to repay $1,640,950.11.

Based on statements Ackerman made to police, VHC officials believe the company's loss may be more than $1.64 million, the company's attorney, Adam Prochaska, said in the lawsuit.

Owned by Carl Whittle, the contractor at 500 W. South St. services the telecom, manufacturing, oil and gas, and utility industries, according to its website.

Ackerman began working there in October 2007 and was fired Oct. 13, two days shy of his 10th work anniversary, the lawsuit said.

Ackerman's responsibilities included collecting and managing company funds, bookkeeping and payroll, purchasing and overseeing the financial day-to-day operations, the lawsuit said.

Prochaska alleges the theft began in January 2008 and continued until last month.

VHC officials allege Ackerman used VHC funds for personal reasons, transferred them into his personal bank accounts and misappropriated its assets, the lawsuit said. 

Prochaska asked the court to order Ackerman to repay the losses and for any damages deemed appropriate. 

On Friday, Ackerman's attorney Justin Kalemkiarian said his client had no comment on the allegations at this point.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or rjohnson@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.



Riley Johnson reports on local government in Lincoln.

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