Trusted man accused of bilking organizations, family out of millions

KENOSHA (WITI) -- A former math teacher from Whitefish Bay who now teaches in Kenosha is accused of embezzling more than $1.8 million from three different entities. Arnav Mahant pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday, September 25th to wire fraud and scheming money from the Whitefish Bay Education Association, another cultural organization and even his in-laws. It turns out, he used various positions of authority for years to pilfer money.

Whitefish Bay High School Principal Bill Henkle is disheartened that the man who taught there for 13 years wasn't as trustworthy as he seemed.

"Arni was really involved with the association through the years and I think most people viewed him as a very positive contributor," said Henkle. "Pretty good finance guy and investor and that sort of thing. So he had the reputation as someone who was had some success in terms from investments and that sort of thing."

Court documents say Mahant successfully used his position to steal. Back in 2006 while he was teaching math at Whitefish Bay High School, Mahant was also treasurer for the teachers union -- and had access to its TCF Bank account. For the next six years, he's accused of diverting union money -- more than $563,000 -- to himself.

Records show Mahant paid some of that money back with more stolen funds -- this time from his in-laws. To get at their money, Mahant would falsify documents to access their financial accounts. Mahant is also accused of forging his wife's signature to get access to $86,000 from the in-law's insurance accounts. In all, more than $1 million was taken from their E-Trade and bank accounts as well as life insurance.

But the deception did not end there. Mahant is accused of stealing more than $182,000 from a national ethnic organization while he was treasurer. In addition to trying to fix the financial damage done, Mahant's attorney says his client is also trying to repair his image.

"I think he is very remorseful and certainly wants to make amends with those who have been affected and live his life as a good citizen hereafter," said attorney Terry Rose.

Mahant has repaid almost a million dollars so far. Court documents show the money was used primarily to finance travel.

Mahant is due back in court in December -- where he will learn his punishment for the crimes.