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Mosquito district embezzler sentencing delays drag on
October 26, 2013, 05:00 AM By Michelle Durand Daily Journal

Jo Ann Dearman

Vika Sinipata

Months after two former mosquito district finance workers took plea deals for embezzling roughly a half-million dollars, neither woman has been sentenced or ordered to repay the purloined funds.

Former finance director Jo Ann Dearman, also known by the name Joanne Seeney, was originally charged with nearly 200 crimes but pleaded no contest in April to 10 felonies in return for no more than 11 years in prison and possibly less depending on how much restitution she can make. Her bookkeeping assistant, Vika Sinipata, pleaded no contest to 12 felonies two months previous in February. She has no sentencing promises and faces up to eight years in prison.

But how much time either woman serves for stealing from the Mosquito and Vector Control District remains up in the air due to multiple sentencing delays. On Friday, the hearing was postponed again because defense attorney Geoff Carr is busy with an unrelated murder case. In September, sentencing was put off because the house sale with which Dearman, 62, plans to pay restitution is going slow. Sinipata also delayed her hearing because attorneys want both women to stand together.

During this time, Dearman is free from custody on $250,000 bail while Sinipata is held in lieu of $150,000.

The pair embezzled the funds between 2009 and 2011 by giving themselves extra pay at a higher pay rate and fraudulent time off, excessively contributed to their deferred compensation funds, used credit cards for personal purchases and electronically transferred money into their own accounts.

According to a now-retired operations director at the district, Dearman charged defense attorneys fees for that case to the district and at one point took medical leave, claiming she needed to care for her mother but in actuality served two years and eight months in prison for the two different embezzlement cases. In one case, Dearman ran up more than a half-million dollars on her boss’ credit card.

The embezzlement came to light after a board member appointed by the city of San Carlos questioned the balance in a pesticide account.

An audit showed more than $635,000 missing but prosecutors only charged the defendants with stealing approximately $450,000 because they could not prove an actual loss of the greater amount. Other evaluations have placed the district lose closer to $800,000 for the embezzlement and more than $1.2 million when attorney fees are added in.

michelle@smdailyjournal.com

(650) 344-5200 ext. 102

 

 

Tags: dearman, district, because, sentencing, prison, charged,


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