Thursday, December 4, 2014

Former Head of Symphony in California Pleads No Contest in $272K Embezzlement Case

From the San Francisco Chronicle on 12/4/2014:

The former executive director of the Peninsula Symphony Association in Los Altos has been convicted of tax fraud and embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars, authorities said Thursday.

Stephen Jay Carlton, 46, of Novato, faces up to 16 years in state prison when he is sentenced next year. He remains in custody until then.

Carlton was convicted this week of a misdemeanor and two felony counts for filing false tax returns. He was found guilty after a bench trial before Judge Allison Danner of Santa Clara County Superior Court.

Two months earlier, Carlton pleaded no contest to stealing $272,000 from the symphony.

The investigation began in September 2013 when a bank alerted a member of the symphony’s board that the organization’s funds had an “unusually low balance,” prosecutors said. Symphony officials contacted Los Altos police, and Carlton resigned.

Authorities determined that Carlton wrote numerous checks to himself from the symphony, using some of the money to pay off personal debts, including back taxes. Carlton forged the signatures of two board members on several checks and took out an unauthorized $25,000 loan.

One symphony endowment plunged from $227,000 to $375, while another dwindled from $195,000 to $395.

Carlton underreported wages from the symphony on state income tax returns from 2010 to 2012 and did not report the embezzled funds as income, authorities said.

The 65-year-old symphony hit a sour note with the embezzlement, which threatened its existence...

Read the whole story here.

Hat tip: FraudTalk reader Cheryl.

No comments: