Ex-Controller of Court Services Firm Admits Embezzling $3.3 Million
SANTA ANA, CA—The former controller of a company that provides supervision services, including electronic monitoring programs, to courts and probation departments pleaded guilty today to federal charges of embezzling well over $3 million from the company over the course of two years.
Steven A. Hagstrom, 37, of Anaheim, who was an accountant and then controller of the Irvine-based Sentinel Offender Services LLC, pleaded guilty this afternoon to one count of embezzlement before United States District Judge David O. Carter.
As controller of Sentinel, Hagstrom had access to Sentinel’s bank accounts where fines, court fees, and restitution payments from criminal defendants were held in trust. The accounts also held money paid to Sentinel for services provided to state and federal court systems. Beginning in early 2012 and continuing until April 2013, Hagstrom transferred approximately $3,338,197 from Sentinel’s bank accounts to bank accounts he controlled, where they could be used for his own benefit.
Judge Carter is scheduled to sentence Hagstrom on September 29. The embezzlement count carries a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison. About half of the embezzled money has already been returned to Sentinel, and Hagstrom has agreed to make full restitution to his former employer.
The investigation into Hagstrom was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS-Criminal Investigation.