Embezzler avoids prison time

A former bookkeeper convicted of embezzling $217,746 from a Burlingame mortgage company pleaded with a judge Friday to spare her a prison sentence, telling him she was the only means of support for her two young children and elderly parents.

Vivian Fu, 36, wept as she told San Mateo County Superior Court Judge John Gransaert that she had learned her lesson.

“I’m sorry for all the people I caused problems to, especially my son,” Fu said. “I’m so worried about my kids. I know I should have thought about that before I did it,” she said.

In the end, Gransaert did hand down a sentence that allowed Fu to avoid state prison, noting her lack of a criminal record and the fact that she has already paid restitution.

She was sentenced to a year in the county jail, which she will be allowed to serve through a work-furlough program, followed by three years’ probation.

She was also forbidden to work with money.

Fu had faced up to two years in state prison under the terms of an Aug. 27 plea deal.

Prosecutors said Fu and her husband, Alex Kwan, devised a scheme to bilk the company through manufactured invoices from real and fictitious vendors. From October 2003 to June 2004, Fu allegedly wrote out company checks that were deposited into four New York bank accounts.

“This was a sophisticated crime that took time and violated trust,” Deputy District Attorney Sarah Boxer said.

Kwan is serving a 40-month sentence in connection with the crime.

Fu has moved to New York, where she owns a small computer business in Manhattan.

tbarak@examiner.com

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