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Dane Cook relative is charged with thefts

Accused of stealing $10m from comedian

Darryl McCauley was a correctional officer 15 years. Darryl McCauley was a correctional officer 15 years.
By Peter Schworm
Globe Staff / January 1, 2009
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WOBURN - The half-brother of entertainer Dane Cook allegedly embezzled more than $10 million from the comedian in a series of thefts that included cashing a forged $3 million check as he was being ousted as Cook's business manager, prosecutors said yesterday.

Darryl McCauley, 43, who has managed Cook's finances since the early 1990s, allegedly stole the money from July 2007 to early December through illicit wire transfers to his personal accounts that routinely exceeded $250,000. Prosecutors also said he wrote checks to himself from Cook's accounts, and earlier this month signed Cook's name to a $3 million check and cashed it at a Bank of America branch in Boston's Financial District.

"None of these moves was authorized by Mr. Cook," Assistant Attorney General Richard D. Grundy said yesterday at Woburn District Court, where McCauley pleaded not guilty to larceny and forgery charges. McCauley, who showed little emotion during the proceedings and did not speak, was ordered to surrender his passport and is being held on $3 million cash bail. The Wilmington native is scheduled to return to court Jan. 15.

In brief comments outside the courtroom, Cook's lawyer, Joseph Zwicker, said Cook, a native of Arlington, was unaware of the alleged thefts and felt betrayed by his relative's actions.

"These were unapproved, unauthorized transactions," he said. "He's [Cook] obviously very distraught."

McCauley's lawyer, Robert Goldstein, denied the charges, saying his client never withdrew money from Cook's business accounts without the comedian's authorization, and that McCauley's financial management had been "critical to Mr. Cook's success" over the years.

"Mr. McCauley denies any suggestion that he took money from his brother without his knowledge or consent," he said. "He's ready to confront these allegations."

Goldstein contended that McCauley was not a flight risk, having remained at his home the past three weeks as the investigation into his finances intensified.

"It was an eloquent demonstration of his intent to address these charges," Goldstein said.

McCauley has no criminal record, he added.

McCauley had been paid $12,500 a month to manage Cook's finances, prosecutors said, but was recently replaced by a California-based manager. Despite repeated personal requests from Cook, McCauley refused to turn over Cook's financial records, Grundy said.

"The defendant still has not provided any of the records," Grundy said.

In late November, prosecutors allege, McCauley ignored an urgent request for the records and instead forged Cook's signature on a check, Grundy said. On Dec. 5, McCauley withdrew the entire amount in cash.

Grundy said McCauley cashed the allegedly forged check over the objections of bank security, and then embarked on a weeklong cross-country trip by plane, train, and rental car.

A search of McCauley's second home in Maine uncovered $800,000 in cash in a safe, Grundy said.

Investigators are also scrutinizing McCauley's other financial dealings, including a $150,000 real estate investment in Florida and a hotel boutique his wife opened, Grundy said. McCauley had access to a number of Cook's accounts, Grundy said.

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 and former correctional officer.

Originally known as a stand-up comic, Cook, 36, 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.

McCauley was involved in Cook's career from the beginning, selling merchandise at Cook's local shows and managing the star's e-mail list and website.

Peter Schworm can be reached at schworm@globe.com

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