Crime - Sacto 911

Former West Sacramento school district admin convicted of embezzling more than $16,000

A former West Sacramento school district employee was convicted of embezzlement Friday for stealing more than $16,000 from the district through an invoice scheme.

Mary Ann Elizabeth Colby, 46, of West Sacramento, formerly an administrative assistant in the Washington Unified School District’s business office, was accused of embezzling from the district between July 2012 and October 2013.

In a news release, the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office said Colby had been responsible for drawing up invoices for facility rentals at WUSD, but would log the invoices improperly, collect the checks in the mail and volunteer to deposit funds at a bank, where she would take cash equal to the amount of the collected checks.

The invoice scheme, which the District Attorney’s Office described as “sophisticated and difficult to detect,” was discovered when the district’s bookkeeper saw a copy of a check they were expecting and recognized the handwriting as Colby’s, according to the release.

The district launched an investigation and hired a forensic accountant, who reviewed 21 deposits made over a 15-month period and determined that Colby embezzled at least $16,028, but the district could have lost as much as $60,000 while she was employed, according to the release.

Colby was convicted of felony grand theft, misappropriating public funds, keeping false accounts and fraudulently altering her accounts. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 22 and faces up to three years in prison.

“Public employees are trusted with using the public’s money for the public good,” Deputy District Attorney and prosecutor Michael Vroman said in a prepared statement. “They are held to the highest of standards. Ms. Colby is being held accountable for violating the trust the community placed in her.”