|For Immediate Release
Case # 08NF3575
April 23, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
FORMER FINANCE DIRECTOR OF NONPROFIT HELPING SENIORS SENTENCED TO ALMOST 14 YEARS IN PRISON FOR STEALING $900,000
FULLERTON – A former finance director of a non-profit corporation, which provides services to senior citizens, was convicted of stealing more than $900,000 from the corporation by writing checks to her personal accounts. Medelia Chiong Fernan, 50, Fountain Valley, pleaded guilty today to 17 felony counts of grand theft by embezzlement and was sentenced to 13 years and eight months in state prison, and ordered to pay $941,000 in restitution.
Community Senior Serv is a nonprofit corporation located in Anaheim that provides numerous services to senior citizens in Orange County, including the administration of the Meals on Wheels Program. Fernan was the organization’s finance director from 2004 to 2008. Between May 2005 and July 2008, Fernan wrote 242 corporate checks to various banks and paid personal credit card accounts with company funds. She altered the accounting records to falsely reflect that the checks were paid to common vendors by the non-profit corporation.
The thefts were discovered by a former president of Community Senior Serv who was approached by a security agent of a credit card issuer who questioned the large number of corporate checks deposited into Fernan’s account. A subsequent audit by the non-profit corporation turned up the balance of the loss.
In November 2008, Fernan was arrested and found to be carrying $20,000 cash in her purse and had recently sold her home.
The board and management of the non-profit corporation have been cooperative in this matter, and have worked with Orange County District Attorney investigators and the Anaheim Police Department throughout the investigation.
Deputy District Attorney Sean O’Brien of the White Collar Crime Team prosecuted this case.