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    United States Attorney's Office
    Central District of California

    Thom Mrozek
    Public Affairs Officer

    (213) 894-6947
    thom.mrozek@usdoj.gov



    Return to the 2009 Press Release Index
    Release No. 09-110

    September 2, 2009

    INLAND EMPIRE WOMAN SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR EMBEZZLING MONEY FROM HOMELESS SHELTER

    A Fontana woman has been sentenced to one year in federal prison after pleading guilty in a scheme in which she embezzled nearly a quarter million dollars from a Los Angeles non-profit that provides shelter to homeless women and children.

    Barbara Alvarado, 32, was sentenced Monday afternoon by United States District Judge Christina A. Snyder in Los Angeles. In addition to the 12-month prison term, Judge Snyder ordered Alvarado to serve three years of supervised release, which will include one year of home detention.

    Alvarado pleaded guilty on February 23, 2009 to two counts of misapplication of property from an organization receiving federal funds. During the time of the embezzlement, Alvarado worked as an office manager and bookkeeper at the House of Ruth, a non-profit shelter for homeless women and children that received federal funding from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. Alvarado pleaded guilty to two counts, specifically admitting that during 2003 and 2004 she misappropriated $138,370 from the House of Ruth. However, over the course of four years – 2001 through 2004 – Alvarado embezzled more than $238,000 from House of Ruth bank accounts, including an account that contained funds belonging to the homeless women who were saving money so that they could be self-sufficient.

    At Monday’s sentencing hearing, Sister Jennifer Gaeta, the executive director of the House of Ruth, told the court that Alvarado did not steal from the shelter out of a desire to support her family, but out of her desire to buy a bigger house, new cars and jewelry. Sister Gaeta pointed out that the House of Ruth was forced to sell one of its properties to raise cash to cover shortfalls directly related to Alvarado’s fraud. As a result of Alvarado’s embezzlement, more than 80 women and their children were denied services because the House of Ruth did not have a facility to house them.

    This case was investigated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General.

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    Release No. 09-110
    Return to the 2009 Press Release Index