Office manager gets four years for embezzlement

The former office manager for a Burlingame tool company was sentenced to four years in prison Thursday in San Mateo County Superior Court for embezzling approximately $223,000 from the company between 2002 and 2004, according to the district attorney's office.

Lavon Johnson, 48, was fired from DTC Tool Company after her boss learned she had stolen the money by writing company checks payable to herself over a period from January 2002 until November 2004, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

The crime went undiscovered for about two years because Johnson falsified check stubs with payments to customers that were never made, Wagstaffe said.

On Aug. 23, Johnson agreed to plead no contest to the felony embezzlement charge, on the condition she be sentenced to no more than four years in state prison, according to Wagstaffe.

In court Thursday morning, Johnson's attorney Eric Liberman asked Judge John Grandsaert for leniency, saying his client lacked any previous criminal history, was remorseful, and had been caught up in personal problems and her abuse of prescription medication.

“She's a good person,” Liberman said. “She did something bad here and she did something bad over a long period of time.”

“I take full responsibility for what I did,” Johnson told Grandsaert. “It doesn't excuse what I did.”

Of her abuse of prescription drugs, Johnson offered, “Time had no meaning to me. It just went.”

“I just want to make it right,” she went on. “Without going to prison.”

“I see a three-year pattern of premeditated embezzlement, where the money was spent primarily for personal items,” Grandsaert responded, delivering the four-year sentence.

The company has since recovered about $65,000, $50,000 from insurance and $15,000 from a garnishment of Johnson's wages, Wagstaffe said.

— Bay City News

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Second grader Genesis Ulloa leads students in an after-school community hub in a game at the Mission YMCA on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF parents face school year with hope, trepidation and concern

‘Honestly, I don’t know how I’m going to deal with it’

Health care workers in the intensive care unit at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, with Alejandro Balderas, a 44-year-old patient who later died. Even in California, a state with a coronavirus vaccination rate well above average, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has nearly doubled in the past two weeks, according to a New York Times database. (Isadora Kosofsky/The New York Times)
Why COVID took off in California, again

‘The good news is: The vaccines are working’

Lake Oroville stood at 33 percent full and 40 percent of historical average when this photograph was taken on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Tribune News Service)
A kayaker on the water at Lake Oroville, which stands at 33 percent full and 40 percent of historical average when this photograph was taken on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 in Oroville, Calif. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Tribune News Service)
Facing ‘dire water shortages,’ California bans Delta pumping

By Rachel Becker CalMatters In an aggressive move to address “immediate and… Continue reading

Most Read