Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
FINANCIAL CONTROLLER CHARGED WITH EMBEZZLING OVER $1.9 MILLION FROM ARCHITECTURAL FIRM AND ONE OF ITS OWNERS
NEWPORT BEACH – A financial controller of an architectural firm was arrested and charged yesterday with embezzling over $1.9 million by stealing from corporate accounts and the personal account of a firm owner. Salvatory Josef Fulwider, 36, Yorba Linda, is charged with two felony counts of grand theft, nine felony counts of forgery, 37 felony counts of falsifying records, and sentencing enhancements and allegations for property loss over $1.3 million, aggravated white collar crime over $500,000, property loss over $200,000, and loss over $100,000. If convicted on all counts, he faces a maximum sentence of 44 years and four months in state prison. Fulwider was arrested yesterday, Feb. 4, 2010. He is being held on $1.3 million bail and must prove the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond. He is expected to be arraigned Monday, Feb. 8, 2010, at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach. The time and Department are to be determined.
Between November 2003 and March 2009, Fulwider is accused of working as the financial controller for Irvine-based architectural firm McLarand Vasquez Emsiek & Partners, Inc. (MVE), and was directly responsible for both the corporate finances and the personal finances of at least one company owner. The defendant is accused of stealing over $1.9 million.
Fulwider is accused of transferring over $1.3 million from the personal bank account of one of the owners, Carl M., without the victim’s knowledge or permission. The defendant is accused of using more than $550,000 of the stolen money to pay his personal credit card balance.
Fulwider is accused of using the remainder of Carl M.’s stolen money to pay for charges made by Fulwider to an MVE corporate credit card. He is accused of then fraudulently requesting and receiving over $680,000 in reimbursements from MVE, under the false pretense of having personally paid the balance of the corporate credit card. The defendant is accused of failing to provide any of the reimbursement payments to Carl M., who was unknowingly the true source of the credit card repayment funds.
In December 2008, MVE began reviewing Fulwider’s handling of financial accounts after an owner attempted to use a corporate credit card, which was declined. The defendant is accused of attempting to conceal his theft by forging his personal bank statements to falsely show that he had paid the due balance of the corporate credit card in order to justify the reimbursements he had received. Fulwider is also accused of falsifying Carl M.’s electronic personal financial records to make it appear that the fraudulent transfers from the victim’s account were personal purchases of the victim.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with additional information or who believes they have been a victim is encouraged to contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Ron Frazier at (714) 347-8691.
Deputy District Attorney Brian G. Mulherin of the White Collar Crime