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Former Councilwoman Pleads Guilty to Embezzling $3.5 Million

Jillian Hanson-Cox, former member of the El Cajon city council, pleaded guilty today (Sept. 14) to charges of mail fraud and filing a false income tax return from her employment at Century Design Inc. (CDI). She admitted to stealing $3.5 million from CDI and failing to report the income on her tax returns, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. She was controller for CDI between 2004 and 2008. She would write unauthorized checks from CDI's business account to pay personal expenses, including for credit cards, says the U.S. Attorney's office. To conceal her thefts she made phony entries in the company's books. Then for the years 2005 through 2008, she did not report the embezzled funds to the Internal Revenue Service. She was first elected to the El Cajon council in 2004 and resigned in March of this year after FBI and IRS agents raided her home and office.

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Jillian Hanson-Cox, former member of the El Cajon city council, pleaded guilty today (Sept. 14) to charges of mail fraud and filing a false income tax return from her employment at Century Design Inc. (CDI). She admitted to stealing $3.5 million from CDI and failing to report the income on her tax returns, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. She was controller for CDI between 2004 and 2008. She would write unauthorized checks from CDI's business account to pay personal expenses, including for credit cards, says the U.S. Attorney's office. To conceal her thefts she made phony entries in the company's books. Then for the years 2005 through 2008, she did not report the embezzled funds to the Internal Revenue Service. She was first elected to the El Cajon council in 2004 and resigned in March of this year after FBI and IRS agents raided her home and office.

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Comments
14

Ah, the Al Capone gambit. It's easier to nail a thief or racketeer for income tax evasion than for the theft or other illegal activity. And here we thought this had something to do with the Mother Goose Parade. It sounds as if any connection was peripheral.

But what profitable businesses some of these victimized companies are! How was there ever over $3 mil to steal in some smallish company? But we've recently been treated to stories of multi-million dollar embezzlements by bookkeepers. I missed my calling when I worked in corporate finance.

Sept. 14, 2012

Those in corporate finance steal from the shareholders and the IRS to line the pockets of top management. (That's not what you did, of course.) Embezzlers line their own pockets. The latter go to jail. The former get promoted. Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 14, 2012

Sigh. You are absolutely correct.

Sept. 14, 2012

Remember, I said that was not your modus operandi. Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 14, 2012

And that's why I didn't get promoted.

Sept. 14, 2012

Absolutely, Visduh. I have been studying and reporting on corporations for almost 50 years. It's obvious that the people who get promoted are those who know how to play the game and talk the language. You know the company is pulling a scam, but you keep your mouth shut, and say earnestly that the company is serving the public interest. You never criticize the company internally, even if you know it is driving itself into oblivion. You know when "yes" means "no" and "go ahead" means "you will get a fat raise if you do it, but if you get caught, we don't know you." Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 15, 2012

To get some perspective Don, what would you say is the percentage of corrupt corporate finance folks who are doing what you say..."steal[ing] from the shareholders and IRS to line the pockets of top management"? And do you believe for those who do these acts of thievery; Is the behavior is one of casual opportunity, well planned and executed embezzlements, simple greed and financial envy or something else?

Sept. 15, 2012

Embezzlements are acts of greed and often desperation. (How often does drug addiction play a major role?) Unfortunately, manipulating of the books by chief financial officers to run up the stock ultimately fleeces shareholders, because at some point the stock price will revert to its realistic value. Corporations routinely keep more than one set of books -- one for the shareholders, one for the IRS, another for the management, which actually wants to know what is going on. Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 15, 2012

In other words, Peregrine?

Sept. 15, 2012

Peregrine Systems, of which John Moores was chairman, is an example of corporate fraud. Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 15, 2012

I think the DA is going light on embezzlers because most of the stolen money is going into local casinos. I think there's a deliberate effort underway to put a fig leaf over the situation because powerful casino owners don't want negative publicity. Embezzlers who plead out receive light sentences so the motive for their crimes is kept out of open court and shielded from media scrutiny. For example, in this case there is scant reference to where the $3.5 million went. I'm fairly certain where the money went. And if the money went to the casinos, they should return it to the victim as a matter of policy if not the law.

Sept. 15, 2012

Supposedly she spent the money on paying off credit cards and also civic activities. I don't know the nature of the credit card charges. Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 15, 2012

I'm strongly inclined to think that most of that loot was lost across casino "gaming" tables. Of course that could have gone along with drug use, lavish spending on "lifestyle" items, and gifts. Often when we see one of those we see the other.

Sept. 15, 2012

I simply don't know, Visduh. Best, Don Bauder

Sept. 16, 2012

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