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Peninsula Symphony Association director found guilty of tax fraud

Embezzlement case drained Peninsula Symphony's endowment

A Superior Court judge found the former executive director of the Peninsula Symphony Association guilty of tax fraud this week following an embezzlement of $272,000 from the Los Altos orchestra last year.

Stephan Jay Carlton, a 46-year-old Novato man, was found guilty of two felony counts and a misdemeanor for filing false tax returns. He faces 16 years in prison.

Carlton had written checks to himself from symphony funds, and used the money to pay off back taxes and other personal debts, according to an investigation by the Los Altos Police Department.

Carlton also under-reported wages from the association and did not report the embezzled funds as income, according to a press release from the Santa Clara County District Attorney's office.

The symphony association was alerted to the embezzlement late last year when it reported that most of their endowment and operating funds -- about $500,000 -- had gone missing. Carlton resigned from the association shortly after it was discovered that two of its endowment accounts had been almost completely drained of money. Carlton was arrested in February.

Earlier this year, Carlton pleaded no contest to charges of grand theft, forgery, identity theft and embezzlement. He will be sentenced next year.

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