For embezzling more than $480,000 during a decade-long scam, Orange County's Wendy Wall should serve a prison stint of 51 months, according to the U.S. Probation Department.
But defense attorney Brian N. Gurwitz and Wall–the mother of five who abused her job as manager of the Pepsi Cola Federal Credit Union in Los Alamitos–thought home detention should be the punishment because the crimes were an aberration from a law-abiding life that included Parent Teacher Association and Mormon Church participation as well as the raising of two Eagle Scouts.
Assistant United States Attorney Brett Sagel took a third stance. He noted the defendant spent the stolen money on her family and not on irresponsible, luxury spending sprees. But given the seriousness of the crimes he backed a 33-month term.
This month, U.S. District Court Judge James V. Selna took a fourth position. He compromised between Sagel and Gurwitz. The thief received a 33-month sentence, however she'll get to serve the last 12 months in home detention.
The Long Beach native will also pay restitution, serve supervised probation for four years after prison and must self-surrender to prison officials by noon on June 19.
According to government investigators, Wall wrote credit union checks to herself and created fake loan accounts to funnel the money to a personal account at a separate institution.
The tiny credit union collapsed after the defendant's embezzlement.
CNN-featured investigative reporter R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; obtained one of the last exclusive prison interviews with Charles Manson disciple Susan Atkins; won inclusion in Jeffrey Toobin’s The Best American Crime Reporting for his coverage of a white supremacist’s senseless murder of a beloved Vietnamese refugee; launched multi-year probes that resulted in the FBI arrests and convictions of the top three ranking members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department; and gained praise from New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing entrenched Southern California law enforcement corruption.