|For Immediate Release
Case # 08CF3105
February 27, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
FORMER SUPERIOR COURT ADMINSTRATIVE ASSISTANT CONVICTED OFSTEALING MORE THAN $13,000 FROM COURT ASSOCIATION FUND BY WRITING CHECKS TO SELF
SANTA ANA – The former Executive Administrative Assistant to the Chief Financial & Administrative Officer (CFAO) of the Superior Court of California in Orange County was convicted today of embezzling more than $13,000 from the Superior Court Association by writing checks payable to herself using Superior Court Association bank accounts. Betty Duenas, 38, Lake Elsinore, pleaded guilty to the court to one felony count of grand theft. She was sentenced to pay $13,067.99 in restitution to the Orange County Superior Court Association, three years of formal probation and 400 hours of community service.
The Orange County bench rescued themselves from the case to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. The case was heard before a judge from Los Angeles County, as assigned by the Judicial Council.
On July 16, 2007, and Oct. 9, 2007, Duenas wrote checks made payable to herself from the Superior Court Association Fund in the amount of $6,852.99 and $6,215, respectively. The Superior Court Association is an association that pays the cost of judicial meetings and activities. The defendant deposited the checks into her personal account and attempted to conceal her theft by altering the account books and records to indicate that the checks had been used to pay other invoices.
In May 2008, a Superior Court employee discovered the theft after receiving an unpaid invoice for 2007, which the records showed Duenas had paid.
Deputy District Attorney Chuck Lawhorn of the White Collar Crime Team prosecuted this case.