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Local News

Hearing Pushed Back for Ex-Santa Barbara Police Employee Accused of Embezzlement

Defense attorney requests time to review forensic audit determining $500,000 in parking revenue was stolen

Karen Flores
Karen Flores

A former Santa Barbara Police Department employee accused of embezzling more than $500,000 in parking citation fees was in Santa Barbara County Superior Court on Friday, but had her next court appearance pushed back to this fall to allow her defense more time to prepare.

Karen Flores, who worked for the Police Department as a business manager, was arrested last year for allegedly embezzling parking-citation revenues.

A forensic audit has determined that more than $500,000 was stolen, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Flores is charged with grand theft by embezzlement, destroying parking citations, filing false income tax returns from 2007 to 2010, and the felony of public officer crime, which applies to people responsible for safekeeping public money.

Financial discrepancies were found by the city Finance Department, which launched a seven-month investigation into Flores.

The case was continued to Nov. 2 for a preliminary hearing setting, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Brian Cota. He said Flores’ attorney, Dan Murphy, asked for a lengthy continuance so he could hire his own expert to review the forensic audit and its conclusions.

Flores could be facing nine years in state prison and paying restitution if convicted.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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