Crime, Fire + Courts

Prison eyed for embezzler

By January 21, 2011

WOODLAND — A Carmichael woman who came to court Thursday hoping to be placed on probation for embezzling more than $46,000 from an agency that advocates for at-risk youth left the building facing possible prison time in the case.

Yolo Superior Court Judge Timothy Fall said it would ‘not be in the interest of justice’ to grant probation to Claudean Sue Medlock, who is already on felony probation for similar conduct in Sacramento County.

Instead, Fall ordered Medlock, the former executive director of Yolo County Court-Appointed Special Advocates, to return to court Feb. 2 for a preliminary hearing to determine whether there’s sufficient evidence for the case to go to trial.

Meanwhile, Deputy District Attorney Michelle Serafin announced that her office is investigating another possible crime by Medlock involving the alleged forging of a judge’s signature in a memorandum of understanding between CASA and the courts.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven declined to elaborate on the investigation, saying the information was brought to his office’s attention only earlier this week.

CASA, represented in court Thursday by about two dozen current and former board members and volunteers, released a statement praising Fall’s decision.

“We appreciate the efforts of the District Attorney’s Office and will continue to work with them to ensure that the final outcome takes into account the detrimental impact of Ms. Medlock’s actions on foster youth of Yolo County, as well as the calculating nature of her alleged crimes and her record of past criminal activity.”

Medlock, 54, who is free on bail, declined to comment as she left the courthouse with a male companion.

“With her plea, Ms. Medlock had accepted responsibility for the crimes alleged,” said Medlock’s attorney, Supervising Deputy Public Defender Monica Brushia. “Now, unfortunately, due to the actions of the court, we are back to square one.”

Medlock pleaded no contest in October to a felony count of grand theft, in exchange for which the District Attorney’s Office agreed to dismiss several additional charges and pledged not to seek a state prison sentence.

It wasn’t until after the plea that prosecutors said they learned that Medlock was on felony probation for embezzling more than $13,000 from the California Musical Theatre Company in Sacramento — not misdemeanor probation, as a state Department of Justice rap sheet originally indicated.

“The people no longer believe that the defendant is amenable to probation,’ Serafin wrote in a Nov. 22 motion seeking a rejection of the plea agreement. “Her felony probation grant in Sacramento County did not deter her from continuing the same activity for which she was on felony probation.”

Fall, who accepted the original plea deal, said while the DA’s Office lacked standing to make such a request, “the court is hard put to say that Ms. Medlock, with this offense and the extensive work she put into committing this fraud, should be put on probation.”

If convicted at trial, Medlock faces a maximum of about three years in prison, Serafin said. She also could face additional prison time for violating her probation in Sacramento County.

Court documents indicate Medlock carried out the fraud by forging checks and falsifying expense reports. At CASA, she allegedly used the agency’s Visa card to obtain about $30,000 in cash advances that were gambled away at area casinos.

CASA representatives also claimed Thursday that Medlock’s crimes extended to taking gift cards that were intended for the children the agency served.

Deborah Allison, a CASA attorney, said a volunteer once approached Medlock about obtaining a donated gift card for one of the children she served — a young boy who had only sweats to wear in the brutal summer heat. Medlock reportedly rejected the request.

“We now know that she took that gift card for her own personal purposes,” Allison said. “She was out there pretending to be the face of the organization, and behind the scenes she was stealing from it.”

Brushia has said that Medlock suffered from a gambling addiction brought on by depression when she stole from CASA, which recruits and trains volunteers to advocate for abused and at-risk children in court, and previously from the California Musical Theatre Company, where she had been employed as director of development.

CASA officials were unaware of the CMTC crimes, however, because Medlock was not charged with them until several weeks after she was hired as CASA’s executive director in July 2009, and because Medlock had left the theater company off her r⁄sum⁄.

Her first forgery at CASA occurred within a week of starting her job, authorities said.

— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or (530) 747-8048. Comment on this story at www.davisenterprise.com

Lauren Keene

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