Former finance director and assistant charged with embezzlement

Two women working for a San Mateo County, California, organization dedicated to controlling the area's mosquito-killing population have been charged in a joint embezzlement scheme that generated $650,000 of unearned funds.

The Contra Costa Times reports that an accounts payable audit revealed Vika Sinipata and Jo Ann Dearman worked together from 2009 to 2011 to steal money from the state agency by using government-issued credit cards for personal shopping. They also inflated their incomes without the consent of superiors by adding unearned bonuses to their paychecks. Dearman worked as the finance director for the mosquito control agency and Sinipata was her assistant during the two years of the illegal activity, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Sinipata has issued a no contest plea, the Times claims, which Alexander Cross, her legal representative, stated has no tie to the anticipated verdict that will be announced April 29.

"You take a plea deal to take advantage of an offer, regardless of whether you are guilty or innocent," he said.

The Times noted residents of San Mateo County are especially upset because Dearman had a record of embezzlement before being hired as finance director. It is unclear what audit solutions were used to determine how she obtained stolen funds from her previous employer, the source says, but she was deemed responsible for the loss of $80,000.

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