Defendant ordered to pay $175,000 in restitution
SAN FRANCISCO – LAWFUEL – Law News – United States Attorney Kevin V. Ryan announced that Laurie Griffen was sentenced yesterday to 15 months in prison and ordered to pay $175,000 in restitution for mail fraud and credit card fraud. This sentence is the result of a five-month investigation by the United States Secret Service and the San Francisco Police Department.
Ms. Griffen, 53, of Redwood City, pleaded guilty on January 31, 2006 to one count of mail fraud and one count of unauthorized use of a credit card. According to the plea agreement, Ms. Griffen admitted that while she was working as the bookkeeper for Momo’s Restaurant in San Francisco between May 2003 and June 2005, she embezzled approximately $175,000 from the restaurant. Ms. Griffen admitted that she used the authority she had to write checks on the restaurant’s bank account in order to write checks to cover her personal expenses, including rent. In order to avoid raising suspicion, she altered the computerized accounting records to show a different payee on the checks. She also obtained a credit card in her and Momo’s name and then used the card to make purchases. Ms. Griffen spent over $100,000 of Momo’s money on purchases of collectible dolls.
The 15-month sentence was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge William H. Alsup. Judge Alsup noted that in 1997, Ms. Griffen sustained a misdemeanor conviction in Alameda County for the same conduct and received a sentence of probation for that offense. In that case, Ms. Griffen embezzled over $100,000 from the restaurant where she was employed as a bookkeeper and spent a portion of the money on collectible dolls. In imposing a prison sentence instead of probation, as requested by Ms. Griffen, Judge Alsup emphasized the importance of deterrence and punishment for repeat offenders. In addition to the prison sentence, Judge Alsup sentenced Ms. Griffen to three years of supervised release and ordered Ms. Griffen to participate in a mental health program as directed by her probation officer. Ms. Griffen will begin serving her sentence on November 7, 2006.
Susan Badger is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Miche Sharpe. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the United States Secret Service and the San Francisco Police Department.
Case # CR 05 0759 WHA
A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.
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All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Luke Macaulay at (415) 436-6757 or by email at [email protected]