Over the objections of prosecutors, a Tustin man received no prison time for embezzling $469,000 from his title insurance company and gambling it away.
Wayne Martin Fong, who besides being the company's former vice president holds the dual distinction of being an ex-New York Police Department cop and disbarred attorney, cut a deal with the Orange County Superior Court Judge Robert R. Fitzgerald to plead guilty to seven felony counts of grand theft, five felony counts of money laundering, sentencing enhancements and allegations for causing over $100,000 in loss, aggravated white collar crime over $100,000, property loss over $200,000, and transactions exceeding $50,000.
For all that, Fitzgerald sentenced Fong to six months in jail, five years formal probation and an order to pay $309,000 in restitution. The Orange County District Attorney's office wanted Fong to do at least seven years in state prison. When the 51-year-old was originally charged, he was looking at a maximum of 13 years.
Fidelity National Title Group hired Fong in 1999 to oversee vendors searching for missing company assets. Four months after one such vendor, Global Discoveries, signed with Fidelity in March 2009, Fong sent the firm an email requesting that payments be sent to a particular account, which is where he collected the $469,000 he gambled away.
A vendor suspicious that Fong provided addresses and a phone number different than Fidelity's alerted the company, which contacted the Irvine Police Department. Fong had already been disbarred by the time he was arrested. It was prior to becoming an attorney that he had been an NYPD cop.