A Tennessee woman was sentenced Thursday to 13 years and four months in prison for embezzling $1.7 million from her former Irvine employer over an eight-year period to support her lifestyle, which included a San Clemente home.
Rebecca Rhea Moore also was ordered to pay $1.7 million in restitution to the victimized company and $117,578 to the California Franchise Tax Board, but she does not appear able to afford to do so, said Deputy District Attorney Chuck Lawhorn.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Carlton Biggs sentenced Moore, who accepted a plea bargain from prosecutors, Lawhorn said.
Moore, 39, of Dyersburg, Tenn., was arrested in October as she left a hearing in the federal courthouse in Santa Ana, where she was trying to declare bankruptcy to avoid paying her former employer a judgment he won in a civil suit, Lawhorn said. Since Moore lives in Tennessee, authorities wanted to have her arrested before she could get on a plane back home, so federal marshals took her into custody following the bankruptcy proceeding, Lawhorn said.
Her former employer, Dan Miller, won a $1.8 million judgment against Moore in a civil suit, the prosecutor said. Moore was trying to declare bankruptcy in federal court in Santa Ana, he added.
Miller, who does business as Miller Contracting Co., grew suspicious about his company's finances last fall, Lawhorn said. Company co-owner Jennifer Miller told the judge how the embezzlement not only affected her and the business, but how it hurt several employees who lost their jobs as a result, Lawhorn said.
Those employees were "additional victims of the defendant's selfish embezzlement actions to live a lavish lifestyle over the eight years she was stealing from the company,'' the prosecutor said.
If convicted at trial, Moore could have faced up to 36 years and four months in prison. She will see less time behind bars because she pleaded early in the process, Lawhorn said.
From July 2003 to October of last year, Moore forged Dan Miller's signature on about 284 company checks and made them payable to herself, Lawhorn said. She then doctored the company's financial records and used the money to pay off her credit cards and mortgage, buy furniture for a home in San Clemente and pay for timeshares in Las Vegas and Maui, Lawhorn said.
Moore pleaded guilty to two felony counts of grand theft by embezzlement, eight felony counts each of computer access fraud and falsifying records and 29 felony counts of forgery, with sentence-enhancing allegations for losses exceeding $1.3 million and aggravated white-collar crime of more than $500,000, Lawhorn said.
-- From City News Service