A woman who was the law office manager of Rinos & Martin, LLP has been charged with embezzling over $480,000.00 from the law firm. Orange County prosecutors allege Donna Joy Henderson, 67 of Orange, California wrote checks from the law firm account to her own personal account and spent the money on luxuries such as jewelry, cruises, home improvements, indoor sauna and time share properties. In an attempt to hide the fraud, prosecutors further allege she falsified business records and balancing sheets.
Henderson, who was in charge of the financial records, is alleged to have written over 122 company checks between 2003 and 2009. She is charged with one count of Penal Code Section 487(a)- Grand Theft with a sentencing enhancements for fraud over $150,000 and fourteen counts of Penal Code Section 471-Falsifying Financial Records. If convicted, Henderson faces a maximum prison sentence of 14 years, 4 months.
Even though Henderson wrote 122 checks, she can only be charged with one count of theft. This is called “Common Plan or Scheme.” Under California law, when a person uses the same method to commit theft, such as we have here, that person can only be charged once. So, to get around this law, prosecutors can charge criminal defendants with multiple counts of falsifying records and or forgery, which usually accompanies a theft. This is why it is very important to contact a knowledgeable Orange County criminal defense lawyer if you are being accused of any white collar crime or fraud.