Saturday, 2:15 PM
Alleged theft from Dane Cook topped $10 million
McCauley at his arraignment today.
By Peter Schworm, Globe Staff
WOBURN -- The half-brother of Dane Cook allegedly embezzled more than $10 million from the comedian in a series of thefts that included cashing a forged $3 million check at a bank in downtown Boston, a prosecutor said today in court.
Darryl McCauley, 43, allegedly signed Cook's name on the check and cashed it at the Bank of America branch at 100 Federal Street in the Financial District. The cash funded McCauley on a cross-country trip by plane, train, and rental car, according to Assistant Attorney General Richard D. Grundy. McCauley, who has been Cook's business manager since the early 1990s, also allegedly wired large amounts of money to himself.
"None of these moves were authorized by Mr. Cook," Grundy said in Woburn District Court.
After McCauley's arrest on Tuesday, authorities searched his home in Wilmington and another residence in Maine, where Grundy said they discovered $800,000 in cash in $100 bills.
McCauley, a burly man dressed in a polo-style shirt, said little during his brief arraignment. He pleaded not guilty to charges of larceny, forgery, and larceny by continuous scheme.
McCauley's attorney, Robert Goldstein, said that his client never withdrew any money without Cook's consent and authorization.
"He's ready to confront these allegations," Goldstein said, adding that as a business manager McCauley had been "critical to Mr. Cook's success."
The investigation began two weeks ago after Cook and a lawyer filed a complaint with Attorney General Martha Coakley's office.
McCauley is a 1983 Arlington High School graduate who worked for 15 years as a correctional officer. According to Coakley's office, he had been Cook's part-time business manager since the early 1990s. In 2005, he started working fulltime for Cook and drew a monthly salary of $12,500.
As business manager, he would manage his client's financial affairs, including the receipt and payment of bills, and the receipt and deposit of income and revenue from various businesses his client controlled. In November, Cook made it clear he was going to hire someone from California to be his business manager. At the time, Cook asked McCauley for all of his business records so he could give them to his new manger.
"The defendant has not provided any of the records," Grundy said.
Investigators are also scrutinizing McCauley's other financial dealings, including a $150,000 real estate investment in Florida, Grundy said.
McCauley was ordered to surrender his passport and held on $3 million bail. He is scheduled to return to court Jan. 15.
Bill Blumenreich, a friend of Cook's who produced several tours and runs the Comedy Connection, said yesterday that he was somewhat surprised by the arrest.
He said he learned about a month ago that McCauley had been fired, but was not sure why until yesterday.
"It's just very unfortunate, very shocking," Blumenreich said.
McCauley was with Cook from the beginning of the comedian's young career. He would sell merchandise at Cook's local shows, and manage the e-mail list and website. Cook at one point credited McCauley for giving him a job at Burger King, when he was a teenager and McCauley was a manager.
Cook, 36, had always kept family close, but McCauley sincerely seemed to help him, too, Blumenreich said.
"I think he wanted to help him out, and I think the kid was working very hard for him, too," he said.
Originally known as a stand-up comic who released comedy albums, including the double-platinum album "Retaliation," Cook has been starring in a series of films in recent years, including "Employee of the Month," with Jessica Simpson, and last fall's "My Best Friend's Girl," with Kate Hudson.