On Sept. 21, the former manager and winemaker at a California winery was sentenced to eight years in prison. He pleaded guilty to grand theft by embezzlement and filing false tax return charges on Aug. 8.
Following an investigation, the Santa Barbara Police Department and several other agencies determined that the man embezzled money from his employer between 2006 and 2013 while he was acting as the winery’s manager. He reportedly accomplished this by depositing checks into another account instead of depositing them into the official winery bank account. During this time, the man also attempted to cover up the embezzlement by filing false tax returns.
In addition to the grand theft and filing false tax return charges, the man also admitted to an excessive loss enhancement and aggravated white-collar crime enhancement due to the fact that the amount of theft was more than $500,000. In addition to the prison sentence, he was ordered to pay more than $870,000 to the winery and an additional $170,000 to the California Franchise Tax Board. The man remained in custody following the sentencing and was transported to the California Department of Corrections.
Although this case involved a state crime, embezzlement and tax fraud are federal crimes as well. Depending on the amount that was allegedly stolen, people who are convicted on these types of charges could be sentenced to years in prison in addition to the requirement to pay restitution and other severe penalties. A criminal defense attorney could potentially contest the allegations by demonstrating to the satisfaction of the jury that the defendant lacked the requisite specific intent.
Source: Edhay, “WINEMAKER SENTENCED 8 YEARS FOR EMBEZZLEMENT AND TAX EVASION“, Sept. 22, 2017