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Linda Conover, one of the owners of a chain of pizza shops in San Diego County, spoke to a judge this afternoon before he pronounced sentence on a bookkeeper who caused “financial devastation.”

“Thank you for hearing us. Chip and I are owners of Leucadia Pizzeria. We are not some faceless corporation, we are local people who employ 160 people, all trying to make an honest living. We want to emphasize that she just didn’t empty a large saving account….Susie worked closely with Chip and I for over four years. And day by day, she embezzled the money out of our business, heaping on the financial devastation she was causing for our families…. She watched when our house went. She watched as we got further and further behind on our taxes…. Susie was paid well, and in the years she worked for us, our businesses could have doubled in size, along with her salary. Susie is smart enough to realize that. Instead she destroyed lives and will spend time in prison as a felon. She could have stopped her embezzlement at any time and helped our businesses to succeed but she didn’t. Proving to us that she will once again steal, given the opportunity. We feel releasing her out of prison in only 22 months will be detrimental to society….”

Susan Dawn Seibert, 49, was hired as bookkeeper for a chain of high-end pizza restaurants called Leucadia Pizzeria, in April 2008.

Business owner Charles Conover stated that when he confronted Susan Seibert in June 2012, she “immediately confessed” and told him she took the money to “pay debts to third parties,” according to court files.

Seibert was arrested in June 2013, and two weeks later she admitted stealing $500,000 from her employers in a plea deal she signed on June 26, 2013. Seibert admitted two felony counts of fraud and 24 other felonies were dismissed.

Honorable Judge David Berry today sentenced Seibert to four years prison and ordered her to pay $540,000 restitution.

Prosecutor Anna Winn described the embezzlement victims as “heartbroken” and sympathized that the “length of time that she will be incarcerated is just a fraction of the time it will take them to recover.”

Private defense attorney James Dicks asked the court to recommend “fire camp” as part of the sentencing today, and Judge Berry did grant that request.

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Eva Knott Aug. 24, 2013 @ 8:45 a.m.

The owners of the pizzerias, Charles and Linda Conover, now owe more than $200,000 to the IRS and $100,000 to the suppliers of their restaurants. They do not have the money to pay these obligations. They lost their personal home during the years of embezzlement by their bookkeeper Susan Seibert. These facts were confirmed in a report generated by the probation department.


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