The former administrative manager of a Palo Alto neighborhood association received a six-month suspended sentence and must pay back $60,000 he stole from the Greenmeadow Community Association, a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge ruled Thursday (Aug. 18).
Kimball Allen, 29, pleaded no contest to embezzling on April 29 after his replacement discovered a 2010 spending spree using the association's credit card. His expenditures included a down payment for a BMW roadster, trips to Hawaii and Mexico and other vacations and hair transplants.
Under a plea deal, Allen received the suspended jail sentence and must make restitution of the total amount he took from Greenmeadow within one year. He has already put $29,000 restitution in a trust account, Rob Baker, Santa Clara County supervising deputy district attorney, said. The association is expected to receive that money soon, he said.
Upon completion of restitution, the judge will reduce the embezzlement conviction to a misdemeanor, and Allen would be on probation for three years, he said.
A status-review hearing will take place in February, Baker said.
Baker has said the primary goal was to hold Allen accountable for his crime and to enable Greenmeadow to recoup its losses.
"The promise of a misdemeanor and six months in county jail provides a great incentive to reimburse Greenmeadow and make them whole again," Baker said in a prior interview.
Allen's age, lack of a prior criminal record and willingness to accept responsibility were factors in the deal, he said.
Allen had originally pleaded not guilty to the felony charge, which could have resulted in a three-year prison sentence if convicted by a jury.
He resigned from his administrative manager job in December 2010 to start up a gymnastics studio in Redwood City. Some of the equipment and the business incorporation costs were charged to the association's credit card.
His Greenmeadow successor discovered the crime when several items Allen said would be delivered never arrived. An audit of the association's books found that invoices for many items Allen recorded in the association's books never existed. He substituted the business-related items to cover for his personal purchases, according to court documents.
Allen wrote a one-page, handwritten confession and apology to the association on March 17.
Sean Giffen, Greenmeadow president, said at the time of the plea deal that he was satisfied, although some association members wanted Allen jailed. But the crime has had impacts beyond financial, he said.
"While we may get the money back, our time and effort can't be returned," he said. "It's been a huge effort that you can't put a price on at the end of the day."
Association members have faith and trust in new administrative manager Donna Rhoan, who first discovered and reported Allen's embezzlement, Giffen said.
The association has been instituting safeguards that will also protect any future administrative manager from being in a similar position, he said.