Neighborhood-association embezzler is sentenced

Former Greenmeadow Community Association administrative manager took $60,000

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.

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Like this comment
Posted by Tim
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 18, 2011 at 9:48 pm

So if he had stolen $60K from a bank, he would get 4-6 years in prison. What a joke. Stealing is stealing. Isn't this what we teach our children.
Hey son, if your going to steal- steal from a association. If your caught, no prison time, reduced to a misdemeanor and probation for only three years!

Like this comment
Posted by Koa
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 18, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Interesting. You can steal 60K and all you have to do if you're caught is pay it back. No jail, no community service, no additional fine. Can I get the number of Allen's lawyer please?

Like this comment
Posted by white collar crime
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 18, 2011 at 11:11 pm

That's the difference between white collar crime and street crime. White collar criminals get a slap on the wrist, even if their crimes are 10 times as damaging.

Like this comment
Posted by beaverton
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Aug 19, 2011 at 3:17 am

I think Greenmeadow should take back the hairpluggs also, Mr. Allen still comes out with a new top. Those hairplugs are owned by the Greenmeadow.

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 19, 2011 at 5:06 am

I looked and couldn't find where embezzled funds are reportable on Form 1040. But I guess this $60k turned out to be just a zero-interest loan rather than illicit income.

Even with street crime, sentences are lighter when no weapon is used or threats made. Prisons are overcrowded. At least now he will have a criminal record, so if there is a next time, the DA won't be as receptive to a plea deal.

If any Greenmeadow people are still really ticked off, there's always the Civil Suit route. It's an expensive but legal and effective way to inflict misery.

Like this comment
Posted by ODB
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 19, 2011 at 7:11 am

In a civil suit you can at least get punitive damages.

Like this comment
Posted by lawsuits hurt everyone except the lawyers
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 19, 2011 at 9:47 am

A civil suit would punish the association more than the criminal. There are legal costs and even more misery.

The courts should be allowed to give a much longer sentence and suspend it so long as the perp doesn't commit any similar crimes. Gyms commit borderline thievery with their memberships already.

I don't think it serves anyone if the guy just languishes in jail. But he didn't really pay for his crime by just having to pay back the money, he should have had to reimburse the association for their time. The courts should have been allowed to award treble damages. And the perp should have the threat of the worse punishment he escaped hanging over his head if he did anything like that again. Then he should be monitored and audited for such every five years over the twenty year suspended he should have gotten. If he broke into a jewelry store and stole a tenth of that he'd get hard time.

Like this comment
Posted by never
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Aug 19, 2011 at 9:53 am

The association will never sue or complain,believe me,unless he breaks the rule.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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