Friday, February 13, 2015

Secretary at Long Beach Catholic School Sentenced for Embezzling $260,000

A secretary at a Long Beach Catholic school was sentenced Wednesday for stealing more than $260,000 from the school, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office (LADA).

Maria Guadalupe Hernandez, the 35-year-old secretary for St. Barnabas Parish School, was found guilty on January 28 in a bench trial of three counts of grand theft by embezzlement.

Prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney Brian Kang said in court Wednesday that even though the school seemed to be struggling financially for years, it wasn't until 2011 that officials "became aware of irregularities in the use of the school's fundraising account and began an investigation."

During an investigation, officials found that Hernandez, who had been with the school since1999 had stolen more than $260,000 from the school's fundraising account between 2009 and 2011.

Hernandez paid back $50,000 of the $260,647.40 at Wednesday's sentencing and also provided a security on two properties for the remaining $210,647.40. Because of this initial repayment, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James D. Otto suspended the maximum sentence of six years and four months in state prison, according to the LADA.

Instead, Hernandez was sentenced to five years of probation and was ordered to pay the remaining $210,647.40 of the stolen money back to the school during those five years.

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