Stockton aid worker embezzled from own company

SACRAMENTO — A past employee of a Stockton aid organization serving parents on public assistance was sentenced Monday to more than two years in prison for embezzling funds from her former employer.

Laphone Vongkeo, 32, pled guilty in July of embezzling more than $280,000 from the Family Resource and Referral Center, an organization that receives funds from the San Joaquin County Human Services Agency to pay child care providers for services rendered to qualifying parents on public assistance. Vongkeo worked there as a senior payment provider analyst.

United States District Judge Frank C. Damrell Jr. sentenced Vongkeo to 30 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. She was also ordered to pay $283,393.22 in restitution.

According to Assistant United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner, who prosecuted the case, Vongkeo admitted in her guilty plea that, from November 2004 through July 2007, she used her analyst position to cause the center to issue 88 checks totaling more than $283,000 to two relatives of hers who were not entitled to receive those checks. She then split the proceeds of the scheme with them.

In sentencing the defendant, Damrell said Vongkeo had committed “a very serious crime” that represented a “breach of the public trust” by embezzling funds entrusted to her as a public employee and intended to assist working families.

Most of the checks were issued to Mary Thongdee, 26, of Stockton, who was also charged in the case. Thongdee previously pled guilty to participating in the embezzlement scheme, and was sentenced in April to 18 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Thongdee was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $253,360.87.

Categories: Sacramento, San Joaquin

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