|For Immediate Release
Case # 10HF0152
June 3, 2011
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
FINANCIAL CONTROLLER SENTENCED TO 13 YEARS IN PRISON FOR EMBEZZLING OVER $1.9 MILLION FROM ARCHITECTURAL FIRM AND ONE OF ITS OWNERS
NEWPORT BEACH – A financial controller of an architectural firm was sentenced today to 13 years in state prison and over $3.3 million in restitution for embezzling over $1.9 million by stealing from corporate accounts and the personal account of a firm owner. Salvatory Josef Fulwider, 38, Yorba Linda, pleaded guilty Feb. 25, 2011, to 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. Fulwider was ordered to pay the architectural firm over $2 million and one of its owners, Carl M., over $1.3 million in restitution. He was also fined over $3.9 million.
Between November 2003 and March 2009, Fulwider worked as the financial controller for Irvine-based architectural firm McLarand Vasquez Emsiek & Partners, Inc. (MVE), and was directly responsible for the corporate finances and the personal finances of at least one company owner. The defendant stole over $1.9 million.
Fulwider transferred 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 used more than $550,000 of the stolen money to pay his personal credit card balance.
Fulwider used the remainder of Carl M.’s stolen money to pay for charges he made to an MVE corporate credit card. He then fraudulently requested and received over $680,000 in reimbursements from MVE, under the false pretense of having personally paid the balance of the corporate credit card. The defendant failed 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 attempted 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 also falsified 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.
At the sentencing hearing today, the President of MVE asked the court to sentence the defendant to the maximum extent allowed by law. “In early 2009, we learned that Fulwider had stolen money from our company… while relying on Fulwider to run our accounting department, he was looking me in the eye, meeting after meeting, and stealing from the firm. The financial impact resulting from Fulwider’s actions continues to burden us today and will continue to be a burden for the foreseeable future.” One of the owners of MVE, Carl M., also told the court that he took defendant under his wing and rewarded him with raises while Fulwider stole from him personally to finance his lascivious lifestyle.
Deputy District Attorney Marc Labreche of the Major Fraud Unit prosecuted this case.