Former Santa Barbara winemaker sentenced to prison for embezzlement, tax evasion

Christian Garvin managed Oreana Winery

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Former winemaker and manager of Oreana Winery in Santa Barbara Christian Lucas Garvin was sentenced to eight years in state prison for embezzlement and tax evasion.

Garvin was ordered to pay $1,050,270 million in restitution and a fine of $1,759,080 million. He pled guilty to grand theft by embezzlement and three counts of filing false tax returns for tax year 2008-2010.

"Mr. Garvin also admitted an excessive loss enhancement and an aggravated white-collar crime enhancement because the amount of theft exceeded $500,000," said the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office in a statement Friday.

"A joint investigation by the Santa Barbara Police Department, the California Franchise Tax Board, and the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Office, determined that between 2006 and 2013 Mr. Garvin was embezzling money from his employer, Oreana Winery, by depositing checks in a DBA account opened by him, in which the name of the account closely resembled the name Oreana Winery, instead of depositing those funds in the legitimate Oreana Winery bank account," the statement said.

The false tax returns were filed by Garvin in an attempt to cover up his embezzlement, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Out of the $1,050,270 million in restitution the court ordered Garvin to pay, $879,540 are to be paid to Oreana Winery, and $170,730 to the California Franchise Tax Board.

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