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Man sentenced in workers' compensation embezzlement

A 64-year-old California financial advisor was sentenced to 10 years and four months in prison on July 18 for embezzling funds from 12 people. They were all workers' compensation funds for injured workers.

Legally, settlements related to workers' compensation are supposed to be safeguarded for future medical expenses. However, the financial advisor convinced his clients to deposit their checks with him and then spent them on his own personal and business expenses. In 2017, he was charged for embezzling from two people, but other victims continued to come forward. In all, the insurance department says he took $995,118. Although ordered by the judge to repay it, there was no money in the man's bank accounts at the time he was taken into custody. Therefore, the victims might never see their money.

The man pleaded no contest to 25 counts of grand theft and money laundering. At the sentencing, the judge stated that he normally reserves prison sentences for violent crimes. However, he claimed he had sentenced this man to a prison term because of the nature of the man's crime and the people from whom he stole money.

White-collar crimes may include various forms of fraud, embezzlement and money laundering. Some people may assume that lenient penalties are often associated with white-collar crimes, but this case demonstrates that this is not always true. Even a person who believes they have done nothing illegal may want to consult an attorney if they find themselves implicated in a white-collar crime investigation. A charged individual may want to go to trial or may choose a plea bargain, which can carry less serious penalties.

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