A former employee of the Glendale city attorney’s office is expected to plead guilty in the coming weeks to a federal charge of embezzling nearly $610,000 by creating documents to make it appear the money was being used to pay civil claims against the city, court papers show.
Cassandra Alexander, 53, of Winnetka was charged Thursday with one count of theft from an organization receiving federal funds. A plea agreement was filed the same day.
Alexander was a claims and litigation support supervisor at the Glendale city attorney’s office, where she was responsible for assembling “settlement packets” used to resolve claims against Glendale for personal injury or property damage.
Each packet contained approval of the settlement by a member of the city attorney’s office and the city council, as well as authorization for the city’s finance department to issue a check to the claimant.
Alexander, who had unlimited authority to sign documents directing the department to issue checks, was responsible for picking up the checks and providing them to claimants’ attorneys, according to court documents
Beginning in July 2001, and continuing through March, Alexander created and submitted fraudulent settlement packets that caused the department to issue 30 checks to her family members and acquaintances, according to the plea agreement.
Prosecutors allege Alexander created bogus settlement agreements and fake minutes of council meetings. After the finance department prepared the checks, Alexander took possession of the checks and provided them to the payees, who cashed them and transferred the money to her, according to the plea agreement.
Glendale police seized from Alexander a check for $82,500, which was payable to a family member, before she was able to have it cashed, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Alexander will receive a summons directing her to appear in Los Angeles federal court for arraignment. The charge of theft from an organization receiving federal funds carries a penalty of up to 10 years in federal prison.
–City News Service
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