|For Immediate Release
May 23, 2011
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
LAW OFFICE Manager sentenced to FOUR YEARS IN PRISON FOR embezzling over $500,000 by writing checks to herself to spend on personal luxuries including A PET DAY SPA
SANTA ANA – A law office manager was sentenced today to four years in state prison for embezzling $502,000 by writing checks to herself and falsifying the firm’s records to spend it on a lavish lifestyle including timeshare properties, vacations, home improvements and room additions, jewelry, pampered pet day spa visits, and gambling. Donna Joy Henderson, 68, Orange, pleaded guilty today to one felony count of grand theft by embezzlement with sentencing enhancements and allegations for property damage over $200,000 and loss over $100,000. In addition to her four-year prison sentence, Henderson was also ordered to pay $502,000 in restitution.
Beginning in 2000, Henderson worked as an office manager and bookkeeper for a law firm in Tustin, Rinos & Martin, LLP. She was responsible for overseeing the law firm’s financial accounts and records. Between January 2003 and September 2009, Henderson wrote 122 company checks payable to herself, cash, personal credit cards, relatives or fictitious businesses and deposited them into her personal bank accounts. Henderson spent the money on personal expenses including timeshare properties, cruises, Home Shopping Network jewelry and collectibles, home improvements, indoor sauna, pampered pet day spas visits, and gambling.
Henderson falsified the company’s financial records to conceal the theft by documenting the stolen checks as “void” in the accounting records. She altered the firm’s monthly financial statements that were submitted for review by the firm’s managing partners. In September 2009, the theft was reported to the Tustin Police Department by firm staff after hiring a new accountant to implement a different accounting system. The new accountant noticed that a check marked “void” in the company ledger was cleared and made payable to Henderson. Henderson was arrested Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011, upon further investigation and review of financial records dating back to 2002.
Deputy District Attorney Chuck Lawhorn of the Major Fraud Unit prosecuted this case.