Crime - Sacto 911

Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: What happened to Rancho Murieta woman accused of embezzling from employer?

Q: What happened to Sarah Ann Hallam, who was accused of embezzling $2.8 million from a construction company?

Jesse, Sacramento

A: Sarah Ann Hallam of Rancho Murieta pleaded no contest to grand theft, writing fraudulent checks and filing false tax returns, and was sentenced in May 2010 to seven years in prison.

She also was ordered to pay more than $2.6 million in restitution to the company she victimized, as well as $200,804 to the state Franchise Tax Board for back taxes and penalties.

According to a story in The Sacramento Bee, Hallam was the sole bookkeeper and secretary for a small company. In August 2009, the owner discovered that Hallam had issued herself a check that was approximately $4,000 more than her usual paycheck.

An investigation by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department revealed that she had started embezzling from her employer in March 2004. Authorities said she electronically transferred money into her personal bank account, forged the business owner’s signature to write herself checks and paid off her credit cards via electronic payments out of the business’ account. She also changed the key on the business’ mailbox, hoarded the mail, encrypted the business’ accounts on the computer and hid the business’ bills and financial records.

Authorities said Hallam used the money to pay her household expenses and to supplement her lifestyle with trips to Las Vegas, $500 bottles of champagne, clothing, home improvements and gambling trips to local casinos.

She also failed to declare the income in her tax returns.

Her name does not appear in the online roster of current California State Prison inmates.