A Bay Area couple have been convicted of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Davis company that employed them, the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office announced last week.
Benjamin Joseph Chaney, 32, of Brentwood, admitted on Jan. 11 to embezzling between $100,000 and $500,000 from Harper Model Home Maintenance, where he had been employed as chief financial officer, District Attorney Jeff Reisig said in a news release. His wife, 43-year-old Kara Leigh Brown, pleaded to a charge of being an accessory to a felony.
Chaney had earlier pleaded to multiple theft-related and tax evasion charges stemming from the case, according to Reisig. He is expected to be sentenced to five years in state prison, while Brown is eligible for probation. Both are slated be sentenced on Feb. 22 before Judge Stephen Mock.
Reisig said Chaney was the onetime son-in-law of the business’ owners and was employed in various management positions before becoming CFO — a position he kept even after his marriage ended.
“In 2003, Chaney began stealing from the company by writing checks and using the company credit card on various personal items, including gifts, child-support payments, electronics, computers, home mortgage payments, furniture, appliances and other personal items amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars over the five-year period,” Reisig said.
The thefts were not discovered until Chaney left the company in November 2007, after which a review of his work computer showed that he had started a competing business using funds from the Harpers’ business, Reisig said. Brown, his second wife, was accused of participating in the crimes between 2005 and 2007.
The case resulted in an indictment by the Yolo County grand jury in March 2010.