Tuesday, March 3, 2015

California Woman Charged With Embezzling At Least $100K

From the Marin Scope on 2/26/2015:

A Sausalito woman charged with embezzlement pleaded not guilty on Friday in Marin County Superior Court, but was denied release until the source of her bail money is examined.

Chandra Love, 37, was arrested by Sausalito police on Wednesday, Feb. 18, on suspicion of embezzling more than $100,000 from a tax consulting company, Lt. Kurtis Skoog said.

The prosecutor objected to requests to reduce Love’s bail and informed the court that Love had her bags packed and was heading out of the door when officers arrived at her home.

“She is a con, there is no doubt about it, and she’s good,” Deputy District Attorney Lori Frugoli said at the arraignment.

Frugoli declined to comment after the hearing. In court, however, she said Love’s former employer and alleged victim found $120,000 had been embezzled from the company.

Love had fraudulently listed her husband as an employee at the business, Frugoli said.

Love reportedly told her employer she had cancer and needed payroll advances in August 2013. Her employer later found she was writing checks from the business to herself and doctoring financial records, according to Skoog.

“There is no evidence Love was ever suffering from cancer,” Skoog said. “Investigators believe that Love was making these statements in order to defraud her victims.”

Police interviewed Scott Nelson, the owner of Tax Incentives Group at 3030 Bridgeway in Sausalito and determined Nelson was the possible victim of embezzlement at this workplace, according to an affidavit filed by Sausalito police Detective Ryan McMahon.

“In 2009, Nelson employed Chandra Love as an assistance office manager. During her time working for Tax Incentive Group, the defendant gained Nelson’s trust and was fully in charge of submitting and approving payroll,” McMahon said. “There were no checks and balances in place to oversee the defendant’s payroll submissions.”

Love also allegedly opened credit card accounts and charged $50,000 after befriending a Bui Trang and suggested the two purchase Sabrina’s Salon in Sausalito, which later changed names to Belle Rouge Salon, according to court documents.

When Trang decided not to go into business with Love and confronted her about the accounts, Love asked her not to call the police because she only had months to live, Skoog said.

Det. Ryan McMahon, who led the two-year investigation, requested Love be required to appear at a bail hearing to examine the source of the funds Love was attempting to use to post bail.

Love’s attorney, Sanaz Nikaein, called the $250,000 bail excessive and said her client is a happily married woman with a minimal criminal record and was not a flight risk. Nikaein said Love’s mother in Oklahoma has arranged bail for her daughter.

“[Love] had the heads up since 2013,” Nikaein said in open court. “If she was going to flee, she could have before she was arrested.”

Love is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on March 6.

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