Tuesday, October 25 , 2016, 8:40 am | Fair 51º


Local News

Santa Ynez Woman Sentenced to Nearly 5 Years in Prison for Defrauding Ex-Employer

A Santa Ynez woman was sentenced Monday to serve four years and eight months in state prison after she pleaded guilty to 16 felony counts for defrauding two local property-management companies while she was an employee.

A judge handed down the lengthy sentence to Gina Vrastil, 50, during an afternoon appearance in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria before she was remanded into custody.

Vrastil had faced up to nine years and eight months in prison after she pleaded guilty last December to charges including felony theft from an elder, felony perjury, and multiple counts of felony grand theft by embezzlement, forgery of checks and preparing false documentary evidence, according to Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley.

Vrastil will not be eligible to serve any time in the county jail, said Deputy District Attorney Mai Trieu, who prosecuted the case.

A joint investigation between the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department and DA investigator Chris Clement revealed that Vrastil embezzled approximately $45,000 from MGF Enterprises and MGF Property Management Inc. while working as an administrative assistant for the Solvang companies.

She used her position and access to the company checkbooks and accounting program to begin writing herself unauthorized checks in August 2011, and then made false entries into the company books to hide the thefts, Dudley said.

The crimes continued until July 2012, when they were discovered by the companies and reported to the Sheriff's Department.

The DA’s Office did not offer Vrastil a plea bargain in the case.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff 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.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk's intent is not to limit the discussion of our stories but to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and must be free of profanity and abusive language and attacks.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree to be respectful. Noozhawk encourages intelligent and impassioned discussion and debate, but now has a zero-tolerance policy for those who cannot express their opinions in a civil manner.

» Agree not to use Noozhawk’s forums for personal attacks. This includes any sort of personal attack — including, but not limited to, the people in our stories, the journalists who create these stories, fellow readers who comment on our stories, or anyone else in our community.

» Agree not to post on Noozhawk any comments that can be construed as libelous, defamatory, obscene, profane, vulgar, harmful, threatening, tortious, harassing, abusive, hateful, sexist, racially or ethnically objectionable, or that are invasive of another’s privacy.

» Agree not to post in a manner than emulates, purports or pretends to be someone else. Under no circumstances are readers posting to Noozhawk to knowingly use the name or identity of another person, whether that is another reader on this site, a public figure, celebrity, elected official or fictitious character. This also means readers will not knowingly give out any personal information of other members of these forums.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

Noozhawk’s management and editors, in our sole discretion, retain the right to remove individual posts or to revoke the access privileges of anyone who we believe has violated any of these terms or any other term of this agreement; however, we are under no obligation to do so.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >