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Saturday, January 19 , 2019, 1:38 pm | Fair 70º


Ex-Santa Barbara County Accountant Pleads Guilty to Taking $2 Million of Public Funds

Lynn Hogan Click to view larger
Lynn Hogan

Former county employee Lynn Hogan pleaded guilty Wednesday to misappropriation of public funds, forgery and conspiracy in Santa Barbara County Superior Court, admitting to forging claim forms to take more than $2 million in Santa Barbara County Public Works Department funds.

Hogan, 48, was one of nine people arrested and charged in September 2017 related to this case, and the only one to enter a guilty plea.

She will be sentenced to nine years and eight months in state prison, and ordered to pay $2,051,471 in restitution, said Brian Cota, senior deputy district attorney.

She worked for the county for about 28 years, and was a senior accountant in the Public Works Department at the time of the criminal activity, between 2008 and 2017, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

She will lose government benefits, including retirement, that she would have earned as a county employee during that time, Cota said.

Hogan was accused of creating fake vendor numbers and issuing false refund checks to 10 people and two organizations. As part of her plea, she admitted forging claims forms and conspiring with others to take the money.

The other eight defendants in this case, none of them Santa Barbara County employees, still face criminal charges and many of them appeared in court Wednesday.

Judge James Herman set a May 30 status hearing for the case, which names defendants who allegedly received forged checks: Michael Anzivino, Vincent Anzivino, Michael Elliot, Leanna Harada, Christina Huffman, Michelle Lavin, Richard Kaplinski, and Wendy Puchli.

Hogan’s sentencing is scheduled for June 6. She was represented in court by Deputy Public Defender SE Ballard. 

A county Auditor-Controller’s Office employee noticed suspicious activity in July 2017, and the case was referred to the District Attorney’s Office for investigation, the County Executive Office said in a statement at the time of the arrests.

The fraud was initially estimated at $1.7 million from various Public Works Department funds, and the county said it intended to conduct a forensic audit.

The amount increased to more than $2 million, according to Hogan’s plea.

This is the second recent high-profile embezzling case involving a government employee, following the conviction of Santa Barbara Police Department former business manager Karen Flores for stealing $684,953 of parking citation revenues over a 7-year period.

In 2013, Flores was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading no contest to theft of public funds, destruction of parking citations, and filing false tax returns.

She reportedly served fewer than two years.

Noozhawk managing editor Giana Magnoli 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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