SGA Embezzlement Probe

The Songwriters Guild of America officials are working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Postal Service to investigate the alleged embezzlement of about $1.25 million in songwriter royalties by former SGA manager Marsha Aiken.

“We’ve been working with the federal government very closely in order to ensure that justice is done, and that as much of the stolen funds as possible are recovered,” SGA President Rick Carnes said in a statement.

The funds were apparently diverted between 2001 and 2005 into a dummy member account Aiken allegedly set up under a relative’s name. The money was taken from funds being held by SGA for members whose whereabouts are unknown.

Songwriters who are current members with addresses on file were not affected, and safeguards to the company’s internal systems have been implemented, the statement said.

SGA has retained attorney Charles Sanders to oversee the investigation. A civil action has been filed in New York federal court against Aiken and alleged co-conspirators, and a preliminary injunction has been obtained barring Aiken from selling property reportedly acquired with the funds.

Criminal charges are expected to be filed in the near future.

“We are moving aggressively to ensure that everything that needs to be done to protect SGA’s writer-members is done quickly and properly,” Sanders said.

A special board committee has been appointed to review and assess all findings from the investigation.