LOS ANGELES – A former employee of the Glendale City Attorney’s Office has been sentenced to 15 months in federal prison after she admitted embezzling nearly $700,000 in a scheme that used false documents to make it appear the money was being used to pay civil claims against the city.
Cassandra Alexander, 53, who resides in the Winnetka district of Los Angeles, was sentenced Monday by United States District Judge George H. Wu.
Alexander pleaded guilty in October to one count of theft from an organization receiving federal funds and admitted that she embezzled money for more than 15 years.
Alexander was a claims and litigation support supervisor at the Glendale City Attorney’s Office, where she was responsible for assembling “Settlement Packets” that were used to resolve claims against Glendale for personal injury or property damage. Each Settlement Packet contained approval of the settlement by a member of the City Attorney’s Office and the City Council, as well as authorization for the city’s Finance Department to issue a check to the claimant. Alexander, who had unlimited authority to sign documents directing the Finance Department to issue checks, was responsible for picking up the checks and providing them to claimants’ attorneys.
Beginning in July 2001, and continuing through March 2017, Alexander created and submitted fraudulent Settlement Packets that caused the Finance Department to issue 30 checks to her family members and acquaintances, according to a plea agreement filed in this case. Alexander also created bogus settlement agreements and fake minutes of City Council meetings.
After the Finance Department prepared the checks, Alexander took possession of the checks and provided them to the payees, who cashed them and transferred the money to Alexander.
“For over 15 years, Alexander forged City documents, lied to her coworkers, and stole over $600,000 from the City, all while pretending to be a dedicated employee who earned the trust of her supervisors and rose through the ranks to a position of trust,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed with the court. “She continuously exploited the trust that her supervisors and two successive City Attorneys placed in her.”
Alexander embezzled just over $692,000 from the city, which includes an uncashed check for $82,500 that was recovered from her residence. In addition to the prison term, which she will begin serving next month, Alexander was ordered to pay the city $609,764.84 in restitution.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which received substantial assistance from the Glendale Police Department and the full cooperation of other city departments.