Sunday, February 9, 2014

Two of three search warrants thrown out in SRJC embezzlement case

A Sonoma County judge Wednesday threw out two search warrants leading to the arrest of a former Santa Rosa Junior College police officer accused of embezzling $287,000 from campus parking machines.

Judge Ken Gnoss said the warrants requesting GPS monitoring and credit report information for Jeff Holzworth, 52, were obtained illegally.

But Gnoss said there were sufficient grounds for a third warrant to search Holzworth's Santa Rosa home, his pickup truck and his police car, where prosecutors said they found enough evidence to make their case against him.

“I still have everything,” prosecutor Amy Ariyoshi said at the end of a multi-day hearing.

Holzworth and his lawyer declined to comment outside court. They argued all the warrants should be tossed because they were based on tainted information from fellow officers. They are expected to try to exclude some bank records from future proceedings.

The next hearing is Friday.

The ex-campus officer who oversaw the parking machine program is charged with taking currency and coins over an eight-year period. He came under suspicion when other officers reported seeing him with bundles of $1 and $5 bills and collecting money from the machines at odd hours.

He was arrested in November 2012. His wife, Karen Holzworth, 49, was later charged with being an accessory. A trial for the couple has not been set.

Jeff Holzworth, a 28-year veteran who retired a month after he was arrested, faces possible prison time if convicted.

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