Thursday, June 9, 2016

Former City Finance Manager In California Reportedly Embezzled Nearly $5 Million From Municipality

From the Orange County Register on 6/8/2016:

City officials have revealed that Placentia’s former finance services manager allegedly embezzled nearly $5 million from the financially fragile city – about $600,000 more than first believed.

Initially, authorities believed Michael Minh Nguyen had embezzled $4.3 million, but the ongoing investigation has uncovered an additional $600,000 in missing funds. Authorities say they have seized $2.7 million of that money.

“The city is working diligently to seek court authorization to have the funds transferred back,” Placentia City Administrator Damien Arrula wrote in an email Wednesday night.

Also, a $1 million insurance policy may help the city recoup additional money.

“The forensic audit is estimated to be completed in July, at which point in time the city will have sufficient information to prepare its insurance claim,” Arrula said. “After the submittal, there is a review process, which will be conducted by the insurance carrier. ”

Prosecutors allege that Nguyen made 17 illegal wire transfers from city funds from January 2014 to April 2016 to several accounts belonging to him and others. Prosecutors initially believed the embezzlement scheme began in April 2015.

Councilman Scott Nelson said he is optimistic that the city will recover most of the missing funds.
“It looks like we are going to be very fortunate to get most of the taxpayers’ money back.” Nelson said. “That’s really thanks to our staff and the D.A. doing a great, great job.”

Read the whole story here.

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