SANTA ANA, California– A former office manager for an independent sporting goods distributor has been sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for embezzling nearly $370,000 from her Los Alamitos-based employer.
Julianna James England, 51, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge James V. Selna. In addition to the prison term, Judge Selna ordered England to pay $368,152 in restitution.
Following a trial in February, England was found guilty of three wire fraud charges for using company checks and credit cards to embezzle money from her former employer, Callan Western Sales Company (CWS).
The evidence at trial showed that England used company credit cards and wrote company checks to herself to obtain the company's funds. As part of her scheme, she altered company records and created false bank stubs to give to the company's accountant.
“This defendant's embezzlement required the owners to use personal funds in an attempt to keep the company afloat, but the business was forced to close,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “This crime had a devastating impact on the company, its owners and its employees.”
England was hired by CWS in 2000 to be a part-time secretary and office manager in charge of office administration, which included preparing checks for the signature of Michael Callan, the company's founder. England was also in charge of maintaining the company's check ledger, coding the payments, and providing monthly bank statements to the company's accountant.
From March 2003 until July 2007, England wrote at least 55 checks payable to either herself or her creditors totaling more than $33,000. To cover her tracks, England wrote false notations on the check stubs to indicate payment to a legitimate company vendor. After using these checks for her personal use, she altered the company's bank statements and provided these altered statements to the CPA.
England also used company credit cards for unauthorized expenses which totaled nearly $280,000. She used Visa and American Express credit cards issued to CWS for personal expenses and made unauthorized online payments from the company's bank account in an attempt to conceal the unauthorized purchases.
“Ms. England used her position of trust to take advantage of a small business whose owners employed her for several years and which, ultimately, was rendered insolvent due to her criminal actions,” said Deirdre Fike, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office. “Agents and detectives at the FBI and the Los Alamitos Police Department should be commended for their investigation of this fraud, and for building a case for prosecutors to deliver justice to the victim company.”
England has been in custody since her conviction earlier this year.
England is also facing federal charges in the Eastern District of Arkansas for making false statements to the Social Security Administration to obtain disability benefits. She is scheduled to go on trial in that case in January.
This case was the product of an investigation by Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Los Alamitos Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Gregory W. Staples.
USAO – California, Central Updated September 20, 2016
Central District of California DOJ / 16-221 / September 20, 2016