AP audit leads to guilty plea for embezzlement

The former controller for a machinery company in San Diego, California, has plead guilty to federal charges of mail fraud and filing false tax returns after an accounts payable audit revealed she had stolen millions of dollars from her employer's accounts.

Jillian Hanson-Cox, who worked for machine manufacturer Century Design, is accused of conducting an embezzlement scheme which netted her approximately $3.5 million. Prosecutors state that she participated in the illegal activity from April 2004 and November 2008. Hanson-Cox allegedly wrote check to herself from Century Design's bank accounts to pay for personal expenses. She also made checks out to credit card companies and several businesses to cover the costs of outstanding balances and services.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Hanson-Cox also served on the city council for El Cajon and was in charge of a non-profit organization. She is also being investigated for how she ran the city's annual Mother Goose Parade between 2007 and 2008, as investigators believe she may have used stolen funds to pay celebrities that were featured in the event.

Hanson-Cox is facing 23 years in prison when she is sentenced later this year, according to The Associated Press

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