Woman sentenced to prison for defrauding hotel, credit union

MARIN CO., Calif (BCN) — A Petaluma woman was sentenced to 29 months in prison for defrauding a hotel and a credit union, the Department of Justice Northern District of California announced on Friday.

Stephanie Simontacchi, 48, was employed as a bookkeeper at the Cavallo Point Lodge in Sausalito from December of 2009 to April of 2016, the DOJ said. Simontacchi had access to the lodge’s accounting records systems and had signatory authority over the business’ bank accounts.

She admitted that between October of 2012 and March of 2016, she used her skills as an accountant to access the lodge’s accounting systems to steal approximately 81 accounts payable checks and accounts receivable checks issued to the lodge. She deposited the checks into her personal account for her own personal gain, the DOJ said, to the tune of $384,363.28.

Simontacchi also admitted to using her position as a senior accountant and manager at Redwood Credit Union to embezzle and misapply approximately 35 checks including voided cashier’s checks returned to RCU by its members, as well as other checks. These too she deposited into her own accounts for personal use and used the funds to make payments toward a personal home equity line of credit.

Combined, the checks came to at least $437,162.24, the DOJ said. Further, Simontacchi filed false tax returns.

She was indicted on June 24, 2021 for seven counts of misapplication and embezzlement of credit union funds and four counts of tax evasion. In her plea agreement, she pleaded guilty to one count of each crime and has agreed to pay at least $821,525.52 in restitution.

In addition to her prison term, Simontacchi will serve three years supervised release. She must surrender to serve her term on or before Aug. 11.

Final determinations as to restitution will also be considered, the DOJ said.

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