Nancy Johnson, the former chief financial officer of La Jolla's Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, pleaded guilty Tuesday (June 2) to embezzling $412,289.64 from the organization between 2008 and 2014. During the period, she was ordering department heads to reduce expenses because the center could not afford numerous programs and activities.
She spent the money on trips to Maui and the Bahamas, fancy dinners, and tickets to the ESPN X Games.
In a separate matter but also on Tuesday, Tamara Azizov, accounts payable clerk, admitted to stealing $154,192.74 from the center. She spent the money on clothing from upscale stores such as Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, as well as on sushi. Both Johnson and Azizov continued their thefts until they left the charitable enterprise in spring of last year.
Both had access to the center's credit cards, and would falsely characterize their personal purchases as center expenses. Several people lost their jobs because the embezzlements made it difficult to balance budgets.