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Press Release

San Mateo Man Charged With Embezzling More Than $1.1 Million From San Francisco Law Firm

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

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted Jairo Tomas Santos with bank fraud, announced United States Attorney Ismail J. Ramsey and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Robert K. Tripp. Santos was arrested on August 4, 2023, and appeared in federal court on August 7 to face the charges.

According to the indictment (CR 23-00230 WHA), filed July 25, 2023, Santos, 42, formerly of San Mateo, Calif., allegedly embezzled more than $1.1 million from his employer, a San Francisco-based law firm, where Santos worked as the office manager. According to the indictment, Santos began his embezzlement scheme no later than March 2016 and continued it 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.

Between March 9, 2016, and February 2023, Santos allegedly deposited approximately 806 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. Further, as part of the scheme to defraud, Santos made and deleted entries in the general ledger for the victim law firm that concealed the fact that the payments were made for Santos’s own use. The indictment further alleges that Santos deposited these checks from the victim law firm knowing that the payments were not authorized by the firm or its senior partner and knowing that they exceeded the amounts he was legitimately owed by the firm for his salary and expenses.

In sum, the indictment charges Santos with three counts of bank fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344. Santos’s initial San Francisco federal district court appearance is scheduled for August 22, 2023.

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, Santos faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, and a fine of $1,000,000, plus restitution, if appropriate, for each violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344. The court also may order an additional term of supervised release to begin after a prison term as part of any sentence. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

The case is being prosecuted by the Corporate and Securities Fraud Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christiaan Highsmith is prosecuting the case, with the assistance of Elizabeth Kim. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI.

Updated August 8, 2023