David Lugo appeared to enjoy a successful career inside the Schools First Federal Credit Union in Tustin.
Lugo began as a systems administrator in the information technology (IT) department and eventually became a vice president.
But the employee spent more than a decade embezzling nearly $2.7 million by buying unnecessary computer equipment with credit union funds and then privately re-selling the products.
Lugo used embezzled funds to take luxury vacations in Hawaii, Europe, Las Vegas and Florida as well as for casino gambling, jewelry from Tiffany & Co., new vehicles, clothes, cosmetic dental work, college tuition and expensive dining, according to U.S. Department of Justice prosecutor Jeannie M. Joseph.
This week inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse, the defendant admitted his guilt in the four-count mail and wire fraud case.
"[Lugo] knew Schools First FCU was unlikely to detect his theft as the inventory of the IT department was not well monitored and other employees were not in a position to understand the company's IT equipment needs," Jospeh wrote of her findings. "When the defendant suspected his theft had been discovered, he tried to erase any computer entries relating to the purchases of IT equipment that he later stole and sold for personal profit."
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The federal prosecutor says the maximum potential punishment for Lugo at a future sentencing hearing is a term of 80 years in prison.
According to court records, the thief--who was born in 1973--remains free from custody.