The Simi Valley Community Foundation suspended operations last month following an embezzlement scandal. Former executive director Joanne Abruzzese pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $50,000 from the organization. She will serve six months in jail and five years’ probation in the case. Abruzzese has already satisfied the $45,000 restitution requirement.
Abruzzese worked for the foundation for four years, and served as its executive director for about half that time. While serving as the director, she used the non-profit’s account to pay her mortgage.
The Simi Valley Community Foundation does not intend to cease operations. Instead, it will review its administrative and financial practices.
Prior to discovering the missing funds, the foundation planned to develop a multi-agency health and human resources center. Once they discovered the theft, the foundation could not retain support for the project. The foundation may still fund agencies that had planned to occupy the center.
Simi Valley Embezzlement Attorney
This case demonstrates the impact of embezzlement on an organization. It also shows that most victims want restitution over incarceration. If you’re facing embezzlement charges, you need the assistance of an experienced embezzlement attorney like Robert Helfend.
Mr. Helfend works aggressively for his clients to get charges against them reduced or dropped. Theft is always aggravating, but in an employment-related theft, most employees don’t intend to damage their employer. Instead, they simply misappropriate funds, often for personal use. An experienced attorney can help his clients avoid significant prison time in favor of a sentence that emphasizes restitution. In such cases, alternative sentences often work best for all parties involved.
Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County embezzlement case.
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