San Mateo County mosquito district accuses pair of bleeding coffers

AP file photoThe San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District has accused two former employees of embezzling funds.

AP file photoThe San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District has accused two former employees of embezzling funds.

Two former employees of the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District have been accused of stealing more than $635,000, according to officials.

The district did not name either ex-employee, but prosecutors said one is currently in prison for two prior embezzlement convictions.

Joanne Seeney is being investigated in connection with the most recent fraud, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, and she is currently serving a two-year, eight-month prison sentence for previously embezzling more than $550,000 from two San Mateo County companies.

An investigation into the mosquito district’s finances began last fiscal year, which ran from July 2010 through June 2011, after a trustee questioned the amount of money spent on pesticides.

After a response from staff was “unsatisfactory,” an independent auditor took over. The auditing firm discovered discrepancies. A complaint was filed with the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office, which also launched an investigation.

“A forensic audit of district financial data has revealed a complex and sophisticated method of misuse and theft of district funds and property believed to total more than $635,000,” district General Manager Robert Gay said in a statement Monday.

One of the former employees was terminated, according to Gay, and the other resigned. Gay said if any other employees had knowledge of the wrongdoing and failed to report it, they would face discipline.

Seeney’s first embezzlement case occurred between 2002 and 2007, when she took more than $500,000 from an unnamed company, according to prosecutors. The second incident came to light while the first was being investigated, Wagstaffe said, and Seeney was convicted of taking $49,000 in that case.

Wagstaffe said a decision to file charges related to the latest allegations is expected before the end of the year. Seeney could face at least three more years in prison if convicted, Wagstaffe said.

Seeney was hired by the mosquito district in February 2009 as the administrative accounting assistant under the name Jo Ann Dearman.

Gay said since the alleged embezzlement came to light, the district has implemented “fiscal safeguards” — which include policies and procedures to increase transparency and accountability for financial transactions. The district is trying to recover the lost funds.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsCrimeCrime & CourtsLocalSan Mateo County

Just Posted

The Hotel Whitcomb on Market Street was one of many hotels that took in homeless people as part of The City’s shelter-in-place hotel program during the pandemic.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Closing hotels could disconnect hundreds from critical health care services

‘That baseline of humanity and dignity goes a long way’

Pachama, a Bay Area startup, is using technology to study forests and harness the carbon-consuming power of trees. (Agustina Perretta/Courtesy Pachama)
Cyclists and runners move along JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park near the de Young Museum and the Music Concourse on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Your chance to weigh in: Should JFK remain closed to cars?

City proposes a host of mobility improvements for Golden Gate Park

Dreamforce returned to San Francisco in person this week – but with a tiny sliver of past attendance. (Courtesy Salesforce)
Dreamforce returns with hundreds on hand, down from 170,000 in the past

High hopes for a larger Salesforce conference shriveled during the summer

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said retail thefts in The City are underreported crimes. (Daniel Montes/Bay City News)
S.F. unveils initiative to tackle rise in retail thefts

Incidents are not victimless crimes, mayor says

Most Read