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Press Release

Former San Mateo Resident Pleads Guilty To Embezzling More Than $1.1 Million From San Francisco Law Firm

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of California
Jairo Santos worked as the law firm’s office manager and wrote more than $1.1 million in unauthorized checks to himself

SAN FRANCISCO – Jairo Tomas Santos pleaded guilty in San Francisco federal court today to bank fraud, announced United States Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Robert K. Tripp. The plea was accepted by the Honorable William Alsup, U.S. District Judge.

In pleading guilty, Santos, 42, formerly of San Mateo, Calif., admitted to embezzling more than $1.1 million from his employer, a San Francisco-based law firm, where Santos worked as the office manager. According to his plea agreement, Santos began embezzling from his employer in March of 2016 and continued with his scheme through February 2023. As part of the scheme, Santos obtained checks from the victim law firm, filled out the payee line of those checks, addressing them to “Jairo Santos,” and signed each check with the signature of the law firm’s senior partner even though Santos was not authorized to do so. Santos then deposited these checks into his personal checking accounts at Wells Fargo Bank. Santos admitted to depositing approximately 806 fraudulent and unauthorized checks from the victim law firm made payable to Santos into his personal checking accounts. The total value of these unauthorized deposits was approximately $1,191,683. Santos deposited these checks from the victim law firm knowing that the payments were not authorized by the firm or its senior partner.

A federal grand jury indicted Santos on July 25, 2023, charging him with three counts of bank fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344. Under the plea agreement, Santos pleaded guilty to one count. If Santos complies with the plea agreement, the remaining counts of bank fraud will be dismissed at sentencing.

Santos is currently free on bond. Judge Alsup scheduled Santos’s sentencing hearing for March 12, 2024, at 11:00 a.m. The maximum statutory penalty for the 18 U.S.C. § 1344 violation is 30 years in prison and a fine of $1,000,000. The court may also ordered Santos to serve an additional term of supervised release and may order restitution, if appropriate. However, any sentence will be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christiaan Highsmith is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Aarian Beiti. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI. 

Updated November 21, 2023