Thursday, January 1, 2015

Former Municipal Official In California Accused Of Embezzling $6.4 Million Over 10 Year Period

From CBS Los Angeles on 12/30/2013:

A former Pasadena city employee was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of embezzling more than $6 million from the city over the past 10 years.

Danny R. Wooten, 51, was arrested Tuesday morning, along with his friends, Tyrone Collins, 55, and Melody Jenkins, 46, after an investigation by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigation.

The trio was charged in a 60-count felony complaint for arrest warrant, with allegations of embezzlement, conflict of interest and grand theft with excessive taking.

Wooten was a management analyst in the city’s Public Works Department, which was in charge of relocating all of the city’s utility lines underground, and had a reported annual salary of more than $130,000 in 2013. According to the District Attorney’s Office, Wooten created false invoices for the underground utility program and stole $6.4 million.

Prosecutors say Wooten directed more than $2 million of the stolen money to Collins, owner of Collins Electric, and gave more than $40,000 to Jenkins, who was a temporary Pasadena City employee.

Wooten is also suspected of setting up bank accounts in his name and directing city funds to two churches he was affiliated with – the Southern California Evangelist Jurisdiction Center and the New Covenant Christian Fellowship in Pomona.

The missing funds were discovered earlier this year when the city of Pasadena ordered an audit.
If convicted, Wooten, who is being held on $1.75 million bail, faces up to 28 years in state prison. Collins and Jenkins face up to 18 and four years in state prison, respectively.

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