Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Police investigate theft case at San Diego State

The San Diego State Police Department is officially investigating an embezzlement case from within Associated Students Business Services.

The incident was first reported in the Jan. 20 campus police media bulletin. According to the bulletin, an employee who received refunds reportedly deposited the money into a separate account he created for himself instead of entering them into customer credit card accounts.
Police Capt. Lamine Secka said no one has been charged.
Because of the ongoing investigation, Secka said he could not disclose how long the employee had supposedly been embezzling money, how the office discovered the situation or what the employee was supposed to be refunding.
Secka added that police do not yet know how much money may have been embezzled.
While the police report was taken to the A.S. Business Services office, a source who wishes to remain anonymous confirmed that the incident occurred in the Aztec Recreation Center.
A.S. Associate Executive Director Christina Brown said only one employee is being investigated.
“At this point I just want to say they are no longer with us,” she said.
Brown said A.S. discovered the situation, but she could not explain how or disclosed the amount supposedly embezzled.
“To tell you the truth, we don’t know for sure,” Brown said. “We’re investigating that. We have an idea, but we’re still looking into it.”
A.S. is pursuing a legal case, so Brown said she did not want to say anything that would jeopardize the investigation.
“This isn’t me trying not to be transparent; this is literally just the legal system at this point,” Brown said. “This person has rights and they’re only a suspect at this time because nothing has been proved legally.”
In fact, Brown feels the media bulletin disclosed too much information.
“I can’t tell you any more than what it said in that log,” she said. “To tell you the truth, too much was said in that log. We are pursuing this legally and so we’re already a little bit frustrated at how much was put in that log because of the person’s rights.”
While the bulletin gives the impression that customers were affected, A.S. believes that wasn’t the case, Brown said.
“(The bulletin) is not really accurate,” she said. “It circles around what happened, but that’s not exactly what happened. I see where it makes it look like customer credit cards could have been affected and I think it’s very important to say we believe they were not.”
Brown said A.S. is the victim and that customers should not be concerned.
“At this time we do not believe that any of our customers or credit card information has been compromised in any way and we take that very seriously and have all of the policies and procedures in place to protect that,” she said. “If there does prove to be any type of a loss, it would be a company loss that we believe would be covered under insurance.”
In cases such as these, Secka suggests customers contact their financial institution or the organization customers have their account with if they suspect any wrongdoing.
“If (customers) have reason to believe that something occurred, then yes, they can contact their police department,” he said.
Secka said customers should also take precautions to ensure their bank accounts are safe.
“What we recommend people do periodically regardless is to keep an eye on your account,” he said. “Make sure that the transactions you’re expecting are actually taking place. We make that recommendation when you’re talking about identity theft and all kinds of things.”
Secka said embezzlement cases do not frequently occur on campus. He could not guess what the potential penalty could be, but that it could extend anywhere from “just being reprehended and / or fired to serving jail time and having to repay the money.”
The total value of the allegedly embezzled money would greatly affect what kind of punishment the suspect would receive if the investigation proves the employee guilty.
According to California Penal Code 487, if the value of the allegedly embezzled property exceeds $400, prosecutors can file grand theft charges.

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