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Press Release

33 Month Sentence Imposed On San Francisco Design Company Controller Who Embezzled $1.9 Million

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California

SAN FRANCISCO – Kerry Kit Yee Tang was sentenced today to 33 months in federal prison for bank fraud stemming from her embezzlement from a San Francisco-based design company, announced United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds and Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Tatum King. The sentence was handed down by United States District Chief Judge Richard Seeborg. 

Tang, 45, of San Francisco, was employed as the Controller of a San Francisco interior design company from December 2018 to January 2021. On December 16, 2021, a federal grand jury indicted Tang on five counts of bank fraud involving embezzlement from her employer. Tang entered a plea agreement on May 24, 2022, and pleaded guilty to all five counts of bank fraud. 

According to the plea agreement, Tang was, as Controller, the only employee in an accounting role at the design company. She was responsible for tasks including monthly reconciliation of cash and credit card accounts, processing payroll, and processing payments to vendors via check, wire transfer, and credit card. Tang was not, however, an authorized signer for the company’s checks. That authority was vested only in the company’s principals. 

In the plea agreement, Tang admitted that she commenced her scheme to defraud the company in March 2019 – a few months after becoming its Controller. Tang’s scheme involved drawing checks on the company’s bank accounts and forging the signatures of one or both of the company’s principals on the checks without their authorization. Over the next two years, Tang embezzled more than $1.9 million from the company by issuing unauthorized checks.  

In total, Tang admits she wrote 69 unauthorized checks. As described in the plea agreement, the checks ranged from $30,000 to $100,000. Tang made 66 of the checks payable to herself and deposited them into her personal bank accounts. In addition, in November and December 2020, Tang wrote three unauthorized checks from a company bank account that were payable to third party companies and totaled $267,200. Tang admitted in her plea agreement that she was not authorized to issue or sign the checks and that the third party companies did not perform any services for her company. 

The government asserted in its sentencing memo that Tang not only violated the trust placed in her by her colleagues but also jeopardized the livelihood of the design company and its employees. The majority of Tang’s embezzlement occurred in 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic when the country’s populace struggled with financial difficulties and emotional stress. Tang’s crimes, according to the government’s sentencing memo, compounded the financial uncertainty of the company and its employees during an already precarious time.

In addition to the 33-month prison term, United States District Chief Judge Seeborg ordered Tang to serve three years of supervision following her release from federal prison and to pay restitution. Tang will surrender to begin her sentence on October 31, 2022.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Katherine Lloyd-Lovett and Kristina Green, with the assistance of Beth Kim. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations and the San Francisco Police Department.

Updated August 31, 2022