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Edward Abellana was accounts payable supervisor from 2011 to 2015 at Argen Corp., a San Diego metals company. He embezzled $1.9 million during the period he was overseeing credit card accounts, according to federal Judge Janis Sammartino, who sentenced him to two years in prison April 7.

He used the money on a trip to the Super Bowl, trips to other sporting events, renting private jets and going on luxurious vacations, according to the court.

The judge says he should pay $1.95 million to Argen and $661,000 to the Internal Revenue Service.

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Visduh April 8, 2017 @ 12:11 p.m.

Where is he, a convicted and imprisoned felon, going to get over two million bucks? Hey judge, he spent the money and it is gone.


jnojr April 10, 2017 @ 3:58 p.m.

Because if he wins the lottery, inherits, or otherwise comes into money, it can go to restitution. But I bet the IRS claims first dibs...


Don Bauder April 8, 2017 @ 3:38 p.m.

Visduh: That is almost always the case. But courts always go through the motions. Best, Don Bauder


Ponzi April 8, 2017 @ 9:29 p.m.

These embezzlement cases seem to pop up every year. The companies seem to have weak financial controls and do not bother with external auditors. They trust their charges too much. But one thing they have in common seems to be an unusually healthy profit margin because the scammer can get away with draining millions before they are caught. It must be nice to have a business that can't keep track of millions of dollars. Most business people struggle to get by and stay independent. I imagine the culture of the company comes into play in these cases as well. They foster an environment where employees can cheat them and go undetected from some time.

Years ago I ran a small chain of retail businesses and pilferage was a far worse problem than shoplifting. Employees are the biggest thieves. Screen once, save twice.


MURPHYJUNK April 9, 2017 @ 7:51 a.m.

the customers end up footing the bill, right ?


Don Bauder April 9, 2017 @ 8 a.m.

Murphyjunk: The customers may end up paying in, say, a privately-held company. In a publicly-held company, the shareholders pay. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder April 9, 2017 @ 7:58 a.m.

Ponzi: There have been two recent cases in San Diego in which an executive in charge of credit cards, pilfered money from the company over a long period of time. Where are the auditors? Where are the internal accountants?

As you point out, can you trust a company's accounting and internal controls when cases like this keep coming up? Best, Don Bauder


Visduh April 9, 2017 @ 9:37 a.m.


You and I are always expressing bafflement at how some of these embezzlers can get away with draining huge sums of money out of those companies while the business just goes on. They had to be wildly profitable, far more so than the owners and top managers realized. A few of these cases have involved $ millions. After one of the larger thefts, the victim said that the woman who cleaned him out "wanted to destroy" his business. Ridiculous! She wanted it to go on forever, so that she could milk it for as long as possible. But as to why they don't have decent internal controls (simple things like not letting the controller/bookkeeper sign checks) or bring in an audit firm to perform a cursory review, I have no answer. I suppose that the owners just "don't like" having to look at accounting reports, and are too cheap to hire an auditor. A few of those deals were absolutely pathetic.


Ponzi April 9, 2017 @ 5:11 p.m.

I had employees leave merchandise in the dumpster and come back at night to retrieve it. CCTV systems were very expensive back in the 80's so we didn't have them all over like businesses today.

There was also an interesting employee who filed a fictitious name the same as my company. He was able to open a bank account across town and deposit checks made out to my business.

Then there were people who shipped things (to family members) but added expensive goodies to the box. (I sold Apple, IBM and other computer peripherals, so they can add up fast).

So there are many other ways to steal from the employer. I hired a security consultant and learned the loss prevention techniques from a pro instead of learning after the fact. We also had outside auditors because the bank required them for our lines of credit.

I would say the companies that get ripped off are not using lines of credit but fortunate to have capital and cash flow to need little help from banks. Because SBA loans and commercial lenders will want to see audited financials.


Don Bauder April 9, 2017 @ 7:50 p.m.

Ponzi: Retailers expect a certain percentage of their sales will be stolen by employees. Best, Don Bauder


jnojr April 10, 2017 @ 3:59 p.m.

And people wonder why Fry's searches their employees and keeps small, high-dollar items locked in cages...


Don Bauder April 9, 2017 @ 10:33 a.m.

Visduh: Even a privately-held company -- maybe even a family company -- should have an outside auditor who is made to understand that if he or she finds something amiss, management should be notified. Best, Don Bauder


Flapper April 9, 2017 @ 9:24 p.m.

If you don't do a piece on the latest developer-swindle a la ballot measure pretty soon, I may have to cancel my subscription.


Don Bauder April 10, 2017 @ 8:02 a.m.

Flapper: I have mentioned SoccerCity a number of times and I have done a piece raising questions about Major League Soccer. I have said numerous times that any time a promoter puts forth an indecipherable plan on hundreds of pages, and then wants a quick decision by the council or voters, alarm bells should be blasting the citizenry out.

When Manchester entered in with another version, I decided it would be better to delay taking SoccerCity apart. Best, Don Bauder


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