Two Ventura County residents face charges in a $1.7 million fraud scheme in Santa Barbara County.
Authorities there charged nine people with conspiring to siphon money from the Santa Barbara Public Works Department. According to prosecutors, a senior accountant there wrote fraudulent “reimbursement” checks to 10 individuals, including herself. The employee also wrote checks to two fraudulent commercial and charitable interests.
The Auditor-Controller’s office discovered the long-running scam in July, while investigating suspicious transactions. Santa Barbara County used an outside audit firm to conduct a forensic audit to confirm the illicit activity.
Investigators say that the woman created a fake vendor entry, and then began writing checks to that entity. In addition, she issued bogus refunds to ten individuals, and also wrote checks to herself.
Most of the participants in the alleged scam reside in Santa Barbara or Ventura Counties. Additional participants reside in Merced, CA; Wyoming and Pennsylvania. One person has not yet been arraigned in the scheme.
The employee faces three felony counts, including embezzlement and falsification of accounts, forgery and conspiracy. Prosecutors also added enhancements for losses exceeding $1M, theft of more than $100,000 and white collar crime.
Ventura Fraud Lawyer
When you face fraud or embezzlement charges, your best criminal defense strategy includes hiring an experienced fraud lawyer like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has nearly 35 years of experience in courtroom criminal defense in Ventura County. He also has a reputation for providing aggressive, authoritative defense for his clients.
Don’t risk your freedom on an inexperienced attorney who doesn’t want to fight aggressively on your behalf. When you face criminal charges, the right attorney can make a major difference in the outcome of your case.
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 fraud case.
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