The previous director of finance for the La Jolla Tunes Society was sentenced Thursday to 30 months in prison for embezzling much more than $650,000 from the nonprofit about the program of nearly a 10 years.
Chris Benavides, 52, pleaded guilty before this calendar year to a federal wire fraud rely for thieving from the nonprofit among October 2011 and February 2021.
In accordance to the U.S. Attorney’s Place of work, Benavides used the stolen resources to fork out his property finance loan, credit history playing cards, utility expenditures and other personalized fees.
Prosecutors say he issued unauthorized checks to himself, then altered the company’s accounting records to make the payments seem to be for reputable enterprise charges.
Benavides was fired by the La Jolla Songs Culture past year and the corporation reported the embezzlement to law enforcement. The organization has because submitted a lawsuit versus him alleging fraud and other will cause of motion.
Various customers of the La Jolla Music Modern society attended Benavides’ sentencing hearing, like its president and CEO Todd Schultz, who stated the defendant “systematically” stole from the firm above the ten years-prolonged interval and at times, denied raises to personnel simply because he claimed funds ended up not obtainable.
Schultz claimed the business believes the theft begun before than 2010, but the nonprofit’s data really don’t go again considerably adequate to show it.
He also mentioned that Benavides was building a six-determine income and his theft was not fully commited out of desperation or because of to getting in dire money straits.
“He didn’t have to steal. He wished to steal,” Schultz stated.
Steve Baum, chair of the nonprofit’s board of directors, mentioned the corporation is “relatively small” and operates “like a relatives.” Thanks to the tight-knit nature of the nonprofit, “people had been really heartbroken” when the theft arrived to light-weight, Baum claimed.
Benavides informed U.S. District Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo, “I’m ashamed of what I have done” and that he has given that missing the have confidence in of numerous good friends “all for the reason that of my weak conclusions.”
The judge, who imposed a larger sentence than the 24 months asked for by the prosecution, excoriated Benavides, stating that this type of embezzlement is “way a lot more egregious when a nonprofit is included.”
In addition to custody, the judge issued a preliminary order to pay $650,000 in restitution to the nonprofit.
–City Information Services