Nathan Melvin Gilliland, Corporate Controller, Gets Prison for Stealing (and Losing) $550k

A baby-faced thief, who stole $550,000 from his employer then lost all but $50,000 of it in six months via E-Trade, was sentenced Monday to five years and eight months in state prison.

Perhaps Nathan Melvin Gilliland's best bet was pleading guilty yesterday because if the Ladera Ranch 30-year-old fought the felony charges and lost, the judge could have sent him to the joint for 16 years.

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Between January and July 2010, Gilliland worked as a corporate controller in Irvine for Avastra USA, Inc. and its subsidiary, Sleep Medicine Institute Management. That gave him access to the company's online bank accounts.

He was found guilty of diverting funds online over those six months from the corporate bank account first to his personal bank account and from there to an E-Trade brokerage account. He then lost $500k in personal trading.

Avastria eventually caught on to the thefts, but when Gilliland was confronted, he reported he only had $50,000 left in his E-Trade account. The Irvine Police Department was contacted, and Gilliland was arrested.

He copped to one felony count of computer fraud, one felony count of grand theft, and one felony count of identity theft with a sentencing enhancement allegation for aggravated white collar crime over $500,000.

Besides the prison time—and yes, looming commenters, he does look like he'll be popular behind bars—Gilliland was ordered by the judge to pay $550,000 in restitution. Keep your fingers crossed he does not try his hand again at trading to come up with the funds.

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