9/2/2014

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Former Pearl Jam exec accused of bilking band for years

Former Pearl Jam exec accused of bilking band for years
A former executive with Pearl Jam has been charged with 33 counts of theft following allegations that he bilked Seattle’s biggest band for years.

Filing felony charges earlier this month, King County prosecutors claim Rickey Charles Goodrich abused his position as chief financial officer at Pearl Jam’s management company, Curtis Inc., to steal $380,000 from the band from 2006 until he was fired in September 2010.

Seattle Police claim Goodrich’s thefts cost the band $566,000, including investigative expenses. Goodrich, a 54-year-old resident of Navato, Calif., is also alleged to have admitted to owing the band hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Contacted by phone Tuesday morning, Goodrich declined to comment on the allegations.

Prosecutors allege Goodrich transferred money from company accounts to pay debts held by himself and his wife. He is also alleged to have used band credit cards to pay for personal expenses, including family vacations and wine.

In documents filed with King County Superior Court, Seattle Detective Stacy Litsjo noted Goodrich was hired by Pearl Jam Touring Co. in 2005 as the band’s accountant and financial officer. He was hired on at Curtis Inc. the following year, Litsjo continued, and assumed control over all financial matters related to the band’s tour.

In the years that followed, Goodrich maintained access to the band’s touring money even while Pearl Jam changed business management, the detective told the court.

Concerned about Goodrich’s management of various funds, the band’s manager conducted a review of “cash flow issues” at the touring company and Ten Club fan club that had cropped up by late 2009.

According to charging documents, investigators hired by the band’s manager found Goodrich had claimed to have paid thousands of dollars to band members and crew that were largely unaccounted for, Litsjo told the court. They ultimately identified several large, suspicious wire transfers initiated by Goodrich, the detective continued, which were later determined to have gone to pay his personal debts.

Confronted by investigators, Goodrich initially claimed to have cleared the “loans” with his supervisor but later repaid $55,000 to the company, according to charging documents. Reviews conducted by the band’s investigators are alleged to have shown Goodrich also charged $134,000 in purchases to the company credit card.

“These unauthorized charges included Amazon.com, various hotels, restaurants, iTunes, and airplane tickets for himself and family members, various retail stores and vendors associated with” two businesses owned by Goodrich, Litsjo told the court.

According to charging documents, Goodrich admitted to owing $300,000 to his former employer. Litsjo said an audit by the band’s management company put the cost of Goodrich’s thefts at $566,000.

Goodrich has not yet entered a plea to the 25 counts of first-degree theft and eight counts of second-degree theft now filed against him. Prosecutors have not asked that he be jailed in the case.
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