A 42-year-old professional gambler from Nevada pleaded guilty Tuesday and was immediately sentenced to five years in prison for his part in the embezzlement of nearly $5.2 million from the Placentia city government.
Michael Todd McDonald of Henderson, Nevada, pleaded guilty to two counts of misappropriation or embezzlement of monies by a public officer and admitted sentencing enhancements for white collar crime exceeding $500,000, according to court records. As part of the plea deal, 59 other felony counts that also included money laundering were dismissed.
Investigators recovered all but $500,000 McDonald had a hand in stealing, said Senior Deputy District Attorney Marc Labreche. McDonald was ordered to pay about $1 million in restitution and a $4.6 million fine, Labreche said.
McDonald spent some of his time in custody at the Patton state mental health facility, but won’t be given credit for that time to reduce his prison sentence, Labreche said.
Co-defendant Herbert Norris Trotter, 26, of Los Angeles, is next due in court Dec. 5 for an arraignment. He was ordered to stand trial following a preliminary hearing in October.
McDonald and Trotter were accused of helping Michael Minh Nguyen, a former financial services manager for Placentia, embezzle the money from the city.
Nguyen, 36, wired some of the money to McDonald in Las Vegas, Labreche said. Trotter ran the Talaton Group, which touted itself as a company that helps clients with business funding, Labreche said.
Nguyen pleaded guilty in March 2017 and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Nguyen was fined $10.3 million and ordered to pay $2.6 million in restitution.