Posted: Friday, June 24, 2011 12:00 am
A Biggs woman was sentenced Friday to three years in prison for embezzling $203,000 while working as an office manager for a Yuba City dentist, according to the Sutter County District Attorney’s Office.
Tiffany Lynae Lovell, 31, used money stolen between 2005 and 2010 to buy jewelry, electronics and clothing, some of which she gave to family and friends, according to a Sutter County Probation Department report.
Lovell is also suspected of spending some of the money for cosmetic surgery, including breast augmentation, the report said.
Lovell worked for dentist Michael A. Passaglia. The embezzlement included charging personal items on a company credit card and altering timesheets to collect money for days she did not work.
Superior Court Judge Chris Chandler gave Lovell the mid-term sentence of two years for embezzlement, plus another year for stealing more than $65,000, said Assistant District Attorney Jana McClung.
When she came under suspicion, Lovell “cleaned out” office computers to erase records of her theft, McClung said.
According to the report, the theft ended up costing Passaglia $338,838, including the cost of an investigation.
Passaglia declined comment when Lovell was charged last year. In a letter to the court, he said Lovell, who had no prior criminal record, should go to prison instead of receiving probation.
“During the entire time Miss Lovell worked for me, I was aware that she was a high maintenance employee, but due to how hard she seemed to work and her Oscar winning performances on how much she did for this office, I believed her and put up with the daily drama in the office between her and other employees,” Passaglia wrote.
According to Passaglia, Lovell was suspected of embezzling from a prior dentist, but he did not check before hiring her.
In interviews with authorities, Lovell blamed the thefts on being abused by her father as a child and on subsequent mistreatment by other men.
Passaglia wrote in the letter that she filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him to pressure him into dropping charges.
Deputy Probation Officer Amy Arndt wrote in the report that Lovell has “made strides” in counseling since her arrest, but still accepts only partial responsibility.
Starting in November, Lovell began receiving $2,560 per month in disability payments, according to the report.
Passaglia wrote that if he ever turned to a life of crime, he would want Lovell as his partner.
“With her devious abilities, we would make Bonnie and Clyde look like rank amateurs,” he wrote.