Paul Hobbs Winery former bookkeeper sentenced in embezzlement

NORTH BAY BUSINESS JOURNAL, NORTH BAY BUSINESS JOURNAL

A former bookkeeper at Paul Hobbs Winery was sentenced Thursday for embezzling nearly $200,000 from the west Sonoma County vintner over seven years.

Sandra Suzanne Turner, 65, of Cloverdale, was sentenced by Sonoma County Superior Court judge Robert LaForge to serve three years, eight months in state prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office. She pleaded “no contest” pleas in June to one count of felony grand theft and two counts of felony forgery.

“This was a significant loss to this business,” said District Attorney Jill Ravitch in a statement. “This defendant built up the trust of her employer, as is often true in embezzlement cases, and simply concealed her crimes over a lengthy period of time.”

Between 2010 and 2016, Turner embezzled about $194,000 from the company by creating 119 false business checks and forging the signature of the company’s chief financial officer at the time, prosecutors said. She would then alter the business accounting records to make the checks appear to be vendor payments.

The ruse was discovered when a vendor called a co-worker to report an unpaid invoice.

Deputy District Attorney Amy Ariyoshi prosecuted the case. Sonoma County Human Services Special Investigation Unit headed the investigation.