Four people, including three officers of the bankrupt REA Express, Inc., have pleaded innocent to charges that they conspired to embezzle more than $100,000 from that firm before it went under.
The federal grand jury indictments were filed in New York last week against Tom Kole, former president of REA; Richard Simpson, former marketing and sales vice president; Stephen Finkel, former advertising and public relations director, and Rena Stanchfield, Kole's sister-in-law.
The indictment charged that Kole used the money to finance a personal horseracing business and to pay cash to politicians. It also alleged that some of the money was used to pay back personal loans taken by Simpson.
The indictment charges that Kole and Simpson had a Florida advertising firm called Communications Jax file "false and fraudulent" bills to REA.
Then the two men allegedly approved the bogus charges and received kickbacks from the advertising firm. The kickback money, in at least one case according to the indictment, was deposited into Thoroughbred Investor Services, Inc., a horseracing concern owned by Kole.
Kole is also charged with knowingly and wilfully making false statements and representations to the Interstate Commerce Commission.
All four were released on bail. Kole's bail was set at $50,000 andthe others at $25,000.