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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.

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