Former Giants’ payroll manager sentenced to 21 months in prison for embezzlement

A federal judge on Monday sentenced a former San Francisco Giants payroll manager who embezzled $2.2 million from the team and its players to 21 months in prison.

Robin O’Connor, of American Canyon, was fired by the team last July after it was discovered she had been transferring team funds to her personal bank accounts over the prior year. Prosecutors said she used some of the money to pay off debts, but also toward a second home in San Diego, spa visits, pet grooming, home improvements and travel.

Sharon Bunzel, an attorney for the Giants, told Judge James Ware that O’Connor’s crime “wreaked a fair amount of havoc” on the team and its players, executives and former employees. She said the embezzlement included more than 40 separate illegal transactions, changing payroll records and stealing employees’ identities and diverting their tax payments.

“Her scheme was very intricate,” Bunzel said.

When first confronted by the team, O’Connor “denied it completely,” until she was shown proof, Bunzel said.

O’Connor, who pleaded guilty to a felony count of wire fraud in November, has returned most but not all of the money.

“There is $600,000 that has just gone up in smoke,” Bunzel said.

O’Connor, 42, insisted that she took full responsibility for her crime. She has promised full restitution.

“I cannot say how sorry that I am … that I did this, because it’s not who I am,” O’Connor said. “I have no excuse for it. There is no excuse in the world for taking something that doesn’t belong to you.”

O’Connor also apologized to the Giants, “an organization that I loved.” Her attorney Rita Bosworth asked Ware to consider O’Connor’s “horrific upbringing,” which she said included physical and verbal abuse at the hands of her family, and the fact that O’Connor is the primary caregiver for her two young sons, one of whom is autistic.

Bosworth, who requested probation for her client, said O’Connor showed “terrible judgment” and “is embarrassed and ashamed of what she’s done.”

Given the seriousness of the offense and the amount stolen, Ware told O’Connor the 21-month sentence “is in my view, quite appropriate, under the circumstances.”

O’Connor is scheduled to surrender for her prison term on June 11.

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