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Woman Gets Jail Time for Embezzling from Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Medical Staff

A former medical staff services supervisor at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $200,000 from a doctors’ association, and will be sentenced to jail time and probation.

Pamela Cochran-Escalante, 63, of Carpinteria was charged with grand theft, forgery, making false entries, and aggravated white collar crime in the case filed Oct. 14, 2016.

According to court documents, she pleaded guilty to grand theft and forgery, and the other counts were dismissed in a plea deal.

“Between Dec. 1, 2009, and Aug. 31, 2016, I embezzled $224,982.08 from the member doctors of the medical staff of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital” by altering books and records, and forging signatures on checks, the plea says.

Cochran-Escalante paid full restitution prior to the plea, said Senior Deputy District Attorney Brian Cota, who prosecuted the case.

Sentencing is set for April 7, and she is expected to get 270 days in County Jail, three years of probation, 100 hours of community service, and must write an apology letter to the victims.

She also has to file amended tax returns for 2009 through 2016, and pay the due tax amounts or set up a payment plan.

“In every case, you weigh a lot of factors into whether or not a prison sentence would be appropriate,” Cota said. “In this case, she not only paid restitution, but the restitution came from her cashing in her retirement with the hospital and then also selling her residence.”

Prosecutors also considered her age and her lack of criminal history, he said.

Cota said he spoke with two doctors in the medical staff association, and they were satisfied with the outcome of the case.

“Obviously they were very happy to receive the restitution in full, which we hope for in these cases but rarely get,” Cota said.

Cochran-Escalante is represented by attorney Daniel Murphy. 

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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