Two former Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum employees were charged on Dec. 5 with multiple criminal counts for allegedly conspiring to embezzle more than $3,800 from the payroll system.
“This kind of criminal activity should not be tolerated, especially in a public agency,” City Attorney Carmen Trutanich said. “We have a responsibility to protect public funds, to recover those funds when stolen and hold those offenders accountable for their crimes.”
Ulises Luna, 33, a warehouse employee, and Maria De La Torre, 38, a payroll clerk for the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, were each charged with one count of conspiracy, one count of grand theft by an employee, one count of embezzlement, one count of receiving or possessing stolen property and one count of passing a forged document. De La Torre was also charged with possessing an unfinished check. Luna was also charged with possessing a completed check. Each defendant faces up to three years in jail, plus restitution to the Coliseum Commission.
In December 2011, Luna was laid off from his position with the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum due to lack of available work. The criminal complaint charges that Luna allegedly conspired with De La Torre to continue to have checks processed in his name and delivered to him in exchange for splitting the funds with De La Torre.
De La Torre is alleged to have processed the checks, removed them from the general employee disbursement and delivered them to Luna. At least ten checks totaling $3,880 were allegedly cashed by Luna between early January 2012 and April 2012 before officials became aware of the scheme.
De La Torre has since resigned her position as payroll clerk and has repaid $1,500 to the Coliseum Commission.
Luna is now believed to be employed as a long-distance truck driver.
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