A 34-year-old San Juan Capistrano woman pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $1.5 million from her accounting clients on Monday, June 12, 2017. According to documents filed in federal court, she will be receiving a reduced sentence in exchange for her signing a plea agreement with the United States Attorney's Office on May 15.
In the indictment filed against the defendant in this case, investigators alleged that the woman set up a business called Mulder Financial Consulting and listed herself as president over the company. She told prospective clients that she was held an accounting degree from Pepperdine University.
This was far from the truth. She actually worked at a fertilizer company. She had taken a few accounting classes at an area community college.
Detectives with the Laguna Beach Police Department first began investigating the woman more a year before her arrest. They determined that she was operating another fake business called Income Tax Payments. The woman had her clients write checks to this phony business on the grounds that, in doing so, their outstanding Internal Revenue Service (IRS) debts would be eliminated. She was pocketing the money instead.
Additionally, during the course of the investigation, the woman was found to have been creating fake employee profiles for a number of companies she formed. She would use these identities to demand payment for expenses her clients had allegedly incurred. She reportedly didn't disclose any of her misappropriation of funds to the IRS.
As for her clients, they came from different cities throughout Orange County including Laguna Beach, Costa Mesa, Irvine, San Clemente, Newport Beach and San Juan Capistrano. Many of them were young moms who happened to also be small business owners. She preyed upon these woman by holding dinners and parties to build their trust.
When she is sentenced on October 16, 2017, she is facing as much as 23 years in federal prison. She also could be assessed with a $350,000 fine as well.
If you've been charged with a white-collar crime such as embezzlement, then it's highly likely that a lengthy investigation has resulted in charges being filed against you. Financial-oriented crimes such tend to be sentenced more harshly, both in terms of prison time and fines. An experienced Orange County federal crimes attorney can provide guidance in your legal case.
Source: The Mercury News, "California woman who stole money to pay for cosmetic surgery pleads guilty to embezzlement," Anthony Mendoza, June 13, 2017