Suspects in Santa Barbara County embezzlement case arraigned in court

County employee accused of misappropriating funds

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The suspects in a large-scale fraud and embezzlement case involving the misappropriation of $1.7 million of Santa Barbara County funds were arraigned on Monday.

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley filed a 27-page count complaint against the nine suspects: Lynn Gay Hogan, Wendy Sue Puchli, Michelle Louise Lavin, Richard Edward Kaplinski, Jr., Vincent Ray Anzivino, Michael Elliott, Christina Huffman, Leanna Yumiko Harada, and Michael Edward Anzivino.

Hogan, a county public works accountant, is accused of misappropriation of public funds, forgery and conspiracy to commit a crime. The complaint alleges that Hogan issued fake vendor numbers in order to be issued refund checks made out to the eight other defendants. The complaint also alleges that Hogan deposited the illegally obtained funds into a bank account belonging to Tri-Valley Youth Football Conference. 

The additional defendants are accused of depositing the illegally obtained funds into their personal bank accounts.

The complaint alleges that Hogan created the false vendors and obtained refund checks for over nine years between May 2008 and July 2017.

The arraignment took place Monday in Department 8 of the Santa Barbara Superior Court.

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