North Bay Accountant Charged With Bank Fraud And Embezzlement In Connection With Alleged Schemes To Defraud Cavallo Point Lodge And Redwood Credit Union
Charges also include tax evasion for failure to report in excess of $800,000 in income from alleged crimes
SAN FRANCISCO – A federal grand jury has indicted Stephanie Simontacchi on charges of bank fraud, embezzlement, and tax evasion in connection with schemes to use her access as an accountant to enrich herself at the expense of two former employers. The announcement was made by Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair, and IRS Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Daniels.
Simontacchi, 48, of Petaluma, was employed as a bookkeeper and assistant controller with Cavallo Point Lodge, a hotel near Sausalito, Calif., from December 2009 through April 2016. While employed at Cavallo Point Lodge, Simontacchi had access to her employer’s accounting records and accounting systems. Simontacchi also had signatory authority over Cavallo Point Lodge’s bank accounts which gave her authority to create and sign checks from the hotel’s bank accounts and to pay the hotel’s legitimate payments and obligations. The indictment alleges that Simontacchi embezzled funds from her employer by stealing accounts receivable checks that had been sent to Cavallo Point Lodge from third parties and depositing the checks into her personal bank accounts. Further, the indictment alleges Simontacchi embezzled accounts payable checks that were drawn from Cavallo Point Lodge’s bank accounts and made payable to third party vendors. Instead of sending these checks to the intended third parties, Simontacchi allegedly deposited them in her own bank accounts. Simontacchi allegedly embezzled at least $384,363.28 from, or owed to, Cavallo Point Lodge and deposited these stolen funds into her own accounts.
In addition, the indictment alleges Simontacchi was employed by Redwood Credit Union from April 2016 through April 2019, during which time she embezzled over $437,000 from the credit union. The financial institution employed Simontacchi as a senior accountant and accounting manager. According to the indictment, Simontacchi’s responsibilities included processing voided official checks (also known as cashier’s checks) and communicating with Redwood Credit Union’s official check vendor regarding issues pertaining to the funding and voiding of these checks. Simontacchi also had access to checks intended for and made payable to Redwood Credit Union that were sent to the accounting department for processing, including reimbursement checks from the official check vendor and reimbursement checks from the United States Treasury Department and the State of California. The indictment alleges Simontacchi embezzled some of these checks, as well as official checks that had been returned to Redwood Credit Union by members and were supposed to have been voided, then deposited the checks into her personal bank accounts. She used the embezzled proceeds for personal expenses, including to make a payment towards her home equity line of credit.
Further, the indictment alleges Simontacchi evaded taxes by failing to pay taxes on additional, unreported income received in years 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2019.
In sum, the indictment charges Simontacchi with seven counts of bank fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344(2); seven counts of misapplication and embezzlement of credit union funds, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 657; and four counts of tax evasion, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7201.
Simontacchi was arrested on June 25, 2021. She made her initial federal court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tse this morning and was arraigned on the charges. Her next appearance is scheduled for July 15, 2021 before U.S. Federal District Court Judge Orrick.
An indictment contains allegations only. Simontacchi is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. If convicted, the maximum statutory penalties for each violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344(2) and 18 U.S.C. § 657 is 30 years’ imprisonment and a $1,000,000 fine. The maximum statutory penalty for each violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7201 is 5 years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. The court also may order additional terms of supervised release, fines, forfeitures, and restitution; however, any sentence following conviction would 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. Attorneys Kristina Green and Amani S. Floyd are prosecuting this case. The case was investigated by the FBI and IRS-CI.