On July 25, the former director of a California-based physical fitness firm was sentenced to more than seven years after she was convicted on embezzlement charges. She had been accused of embezzling an estimated $1 million for her gambling habit and for other personal expenses.
The 60-year-old woman had been employed by the company for nine years. She was taken into custody in October 2016 and was charged with 50 offenses related to theft, fraudulent appropriation and forgery. In March, she pleaded guilty to three counts of forgery, one count of grand theft and one count of failing to report the stolen money on her tax returns. Authorities believed that she took about $10,000 each month from petty cash funds. The company reportedly only suspected her of embezzlement after she was let go.
Investigators discovered that the woman took money from the company between 2007 to 2013. Forty-eight forged checks that amounted to more than $150,000 were revealed in addition to about $900,000 in cash. Casino records show that she regularly gambled as much as $1 million every year, losing an average of $200,000 annually. The prosecution did note that, after theft was discovered, she turned over $250,000 in cash from her retirement account to the company. She could be eligible for release after serving two years in prison.
Accusations of embezzlement or theft are serious and have significant legal and professional consequences. In some cases, a person convicted on charges of embezzlement could be sentenced to prison, although voluntarily making restitution could be one way to limit the harshness of the penalties.
Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune, "Ex-Jazzercise employee sentenced in $1 million embezzlement", Teri Figueroa, July 25, 2017