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Ex-LA Times Business Chief Arrested

November 13, 1997

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The former editorial business director of the Los Angeles Times was arrested Wednesday on a warrant alleging he stole $800,000 by billing the newspaper for freelance articles that were never written, authorities said.

Charles Boesch, 53, of Chino Hills was accused of preparing the fake invoices and article summaries over a four-year period and submitting them to the Times accounting department for payment to outside accomplices, said Deputy District Attorney Brent Collier.

The alleged scheme was uncovered during an audit when then-Editor Shelby Coffey III reviewed the story summaries, Collier said. The Times billing procedure required that each invoice be accompanied by a summary describing the article.

``Once they started the audit, Shelby Coffey looked at the summaries attached to the invoices and realized, `We never ran any of these articles,‴ said Collier.

Boesch, a 34-year employee, was accused of taking the money between Oct. 17, 1993 and Jan. 29, 1997. He was fired in July.

Boesch was being held Wednesday night in lieu of $800,000 bail for investigation of grand theft. His arraignment was scheduled for Thursday morning. There was no telephone listing for a Charles Boesch in Chino Hills.

Boesch’s former son-in-law, Michael Wayne Coburn, 27, of LaVerne also was arrested as an alleged accomplice and was being held in lieu of $500,000 bail. A third defendant, Jacqueline Barrios, 20, of Los Angeles, also was charged in the case but remained at large, Collier said. Each was charged with a single count of grand theft.

Some payments also were made to a third person, who was not charged, Collier said.

As business director, Boesch approved expenses for each of the Times’ editorial departments, Collier said.

``He was the inside person. None of this could have been done without him,″ Collier said. ``All he needed were some names.″

Times officials declined to comment beyond saying in a prepared statement that the newspaper had been cooperating in the investigation for several months.

``Now that the district attorney has decided to prosecute the case, it would not be appropriate for anyone at the Times to comment further,″ the statement said.

Boesch and Coburn face a maximum sentence of five years in prison if convicted. Barrios could be sentenced to up to three years, Collier said.

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