Houman Fakhimi

Los Angeles Embezzlement Alleged in Coliseum Case

In a large-scale Los Angeles embezzlement and bribery case, six men stand accused of corruption relating to the city's historic Memorial Coliseum.

According to the indictment, which ticks off 29 criminal counts, those involved include two of the country's top rave promoters, three of the Coliseum's employees and a former contractor. All are accused of taking advantage of the venue, which is funded by Los Angeles taxpayers.

As Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Houman Fakhimi understands, embezzlement, under California Penal Code 503, is essentially defined as fraudulently pocketing money or property that you have been entrusted with. It is a white collar crime, and is sometimes called employee fraud or theft.

The major difference between embezzlement and other types of theft is that the money or property had been "entrusted" to you. It's considered a somewhat more complex kind of theft because the courts must prove you legally possessed or had the authority to access the money or property.

It is a charge that can either be considered petty theft (if the value is under $950) or grand theft (if it's over $950).

While the Coliseum case is high-profile and involves allegations of kickbacks and public corruption, embezzlement can cover a wide range of actions. For example, an in-home nurse who allegedly takes property from the homes of her clients can be charged with embezzlement, as can a retail employee who takes merchandise home without paying for it.

Because an embezzlement charge can be prosecuted as either a felony or a misdemeanor, the punishments vary greatly. Petty theft embezzlement can land you a six month jail sentence and a $1,000 fine. Misdemeanor grand theft embezzlement in Los Angeles can net you a a maximum 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine. If you are prosecuted for felony embezzlement, the maximum penalty is three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

If you have multiple embezzlement charges for crimes that allegedly took place over the course of a year, a defense attorney can argue that it was all part of one scheme, and work to have each of the charges consolidated, which could thereby significantly reduce the amount of time you will spend behind bars.

It's certainly a charge worth fighting with an experienced Los Angeles embezzlement attorney. A conviction on any of these charges is going to cause serious repercussions for your future employment prospects, in that it involves a stigma that you may be untrustworthy.

In the case of the Coliseum embezzlement, The Los Angeles Times reports that two top rave promoters, who had hosted a large number of events at the arena, were paying kickbacks to a former events manager and others who were employed there. Those payments were reportedly in exchange for giving them prime access to the stadium.

There was also a janitorial contractor involved, who was also accused of paying kickbacks to Coliseum employees in exchange for hanging onto that contract.

The employees are accused of diverting funds from the stadium into their pockets, in some cases allegedly even setting up a bank account with a similar-sounding name as the Coliseum, so that event coordinators would believe they were actually paying the Coliseum.

Contact Houman Fakhimi at (714) 705-6701 as soon as possible if you are charged with a crime. Protecting your rights and setting up an aggressive defense at the beginning stages is critical in defending against criminal charges.