[UPDATED with Guilty Plea, Sentence:] Nichole Lashawn Chambers, Ex-Dana Point Chamber of Commerce CEO, Guilty of $129k Theft
See the update at the end of this post on Chambers' guilty plea and sentence.
ORIGINAL POST, SEPT. 13, 6:07 A.M.: Former Dana Point Chamber of Commerce President/Chief Executive Officer Nichole Lashawn Chambers is scheduled to be arraigned this morning on charges of stealing more than $129,000 using her chamber credit card and checking account.
The Highland 39-year-old could spend the next six years in state prison with a conviction, and a restitution order is not out of the question, although Chambers reportedly paid back $2,500 when she resigned from the chamber in October 2010.
Chambers had been hired by the chamber's Board of Directors to run daily operations, but she is accused of drawing more than her paycheck between January 2008 and October 2010. She allegedly spent $129,000 of the chamber's money on clothes, child care, dining out, a Las Vegas trip and other personal expenses.
An Orange County District Attorney's office statement claims Chambers' undoing came when a board member suspicious of her spending accused her of failing to provide proper financial records. That reportedly prompted her resignation and partial repayment.
Currently held in lieu of $130,000 bail, Chambers is charged with three felony counts of grand theft by an employee with sentencing enhancements and allegations for over $100,000 in loss, aggravated white collar crime over $100,000, and property damage over $65,000.
UPDATE, SEPT. 24, 10:56 A.M.: Just got back from a week's vacation, so here's one we missed while I was out: Chambers pleaded guilty to guilty to one felony count of grand theft by an employee, plus a sentencing enhancement for more than $100,000 in loss.
In exchange, a four-year prison sentence was suspended to a year in jail, and she was also ordered to pay restitution and spend five years on formal probation.