Secretary at Catholic school steals more than $250,000 from employer’s bank account

Man holding cash illustration 
By: Wayne Morin 

A secretary of a Catholic school was arrested, charged and convicted of theft after stealing more than $250,000 from her employer’s bank account, prosecutors in California said.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced that 35-year-old Maria Guadalupe Hernandez, was convicted of stealing $260,000.

Hernandez was found guilty in a bench trial of three counts of grand theft by embezzlement. At sentencing, Hernandez paid back $50,000.

Additionally, she provided a security on two properties for the remaining balance of $210,647.40.

Based on the initial repayment, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James D. Otto suspended the maximum sentence of six years and four months in state prison.

The judge sentenced Hernandez to five years of probation and ordered the defendant to pay the remainder of the stolen funds back to the school during that time.

Deputy District Attorney Brian Kang, who prosecuted the case, said Hernandez had served as the secretary for St. Barnabas Parish School in Long Beach since 1999.

Although the school seemed to be struggling financially for years, it only recently became aware of irregularities in the use of the school's fundraising account and began an investigation, the prosecutor said.

During the financial inquiry, officials discovered that Hernandez had stolen more than $260,000 from the account.