|For Immediate Release
Case # 11CF0023
January 7, 2011
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
LAW OFFICE MANAGER TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR EMBEZZLING OVER $480,000 BY WRITING CHECKS TO HERSELF AND FALSIFYING RECORDS TO
SPEND ON PERSONAL LUXURIES
SANTA ANA – A law office manager will be arraigned today for embezzling over $480,000 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, 67, Orange, is charged with 14 counts each of falsifying records and one felony count of grand theft by embezzlement with sentencing enhancements and allegations for property damage over $200,000 and loss over $100,000. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 14 years and four months in state prison. Henderson is being held on $500,000 bail and must prove the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond. The defendant is scheduled to be arraigned today, Jan. 7, 2011, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.
Beginning in 2000, Henderson worked as an office manager and bookkeeper for a law firm in Tustin, Rinos & Martin, LLP. She is accused of being responsible for overseeing the law firm’s financial accounts and records. Between January 2003 and September 2009, Henderson is accused of writing 122 company checks payable to herself, cash, personal credit cards, relatives or fictitious businesses and depositing them into her personal bank accounts. Henderson is accused of spending 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 is accused of falsifying the company’s financial records to conceal the theft by documenting the stolen checks as “void” in the accounting records. She is accused of altering 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, who noticed that a check marked as “void” in the company ledger cleared and made payable to Henderson. Upon further investigation and review of financial records dating back to 2003, Henderson was arrested Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011.
Deputy District Attorney Chuck Lawhorn of the Major Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.