500K allegedly stolen from cutting trainer’s customer
A Texas loper accused of stealing $500,000 from a cutting horse owner is indicted in another case of felony theft. It stems from the alleged theft from another customer at Merritt Wilson Cutting Horses.
Dakotah Lindsey Harrell, 28, was arrested on July 22. The month prior, a Cooke County Grand Jury handed down an indictment for theft of property less than $20,000.
Harrell is currently out on bond.
Merritt Wilson Cutting Horses
Harrell allegedly stole funds from Pennsylvania stallion owner Dale Koller last August, according to the indictment. Koller is the second customer of Merritt Wilson Cutting Horses, in Whitesboro, that had money embezzled.
Harrell worked for trainer Merritt Wilson as an assistant trainer, according to her Facebook profile. The information was recently removed from her social profile. The two also had a personal relationship.
Harrell allegedly utilized the men’s banking information to pull off the financial thievery.
Horseman and private security expert Rick Dennis says business owners need to ensure there aren’t security failures putting them at risk.
Dennis warns proper security and a Risk Management Program are not only maintained for clients’ protection, but for the business as well. He says if an individual, hired by the facility, steals a client’s banking or credit card information, “it’s quite possible the training facility can have culpable liability issues in the matter”.
Dennis recommends horse industry business owners conduct a $35 background check at Horse Authority before hiring any employee. While not commonplace in the horse industry, Dennis who has worked for mainstream clients including Exxon, says the practice is standard in every other industry.
“Be proactive, not reactive,” he says.
While it sounds like common sense, Dennis says customers shouldn’t trust anyone blindly with personal banking information and never pay bills directly from a trust or holding bank account. Instead, he recommends setting up another account with limited funds.
Dennis also suggests monitoring online banking activity regularly and investing in a credit-monitoring service.