North Bay Accountant Sentenced To 29 Months In Prison For Bank Fraud, Embezzlement Of Credit Union Funds, And Tax Evasion In Connection With Schemes To Defraud Cavallo Point Lodge And Redwood Credit Union

2 mins read
FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

SAN FRANCISCO – Stephanie Simontacchi was sentenced to 29 months in prison for bank fraud, embezzlement of credit union funds, and tax evasion in connection with schemes to use her access as an accountant to enrich herself at the expense of two former employers, announced U.S. Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan, and IRS Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) Special Agent in Charge Mark H. Pearson.  The sentence was handed down by the Hon. William H. Orrick, U.S. District Judge.

According to her plea agreement, Simontacchi, 48, of Petaluma, was employed as a bookkeeper and controller at Cavallo Point Lodge (CPL), a hotel near Sausalito, Calif., from December 2009 through April 2016.  While employed at CPL, Simontacchi had access to CPL’s accounting records systems and had signatory authority over CPL’s bank accounts. Simontacchi admitted that between October 2012 and March 2016, she used her skills as an accountant and access to CPL’s accounting systems to steal approximately 81 accounts payable checks issued by CPL and accounts receivable checks intended for CPL.  Simontacchi deposited the checks into her personal bank accounts for her own personal gain. Simontacchi acknowledged in her plea agreement that her false representations and statements caused financial institutions to part with approximately $384,363.28 that belonged to CPL.  

In addition, Simontacchi admitted that between April 2016 and April 2019, she also was employed as a senior accountant and accounting manager at Redwood Credit Union (RCU), a credit union, where she was responsible for processing voided cashier’s checks and other accounting-related tasks for the credit union.  Simontacchi admitted that she used her position to embezzle and misapply approximately 35 checks including voided cashier’s checks returned to RCU by its members, United States Treasury checks, and State of California checks intended for RCU.  She deposited the checks into her personal bank and credit card accounts for personal use and used the funds to make payments toward a personal home equity line of credit.  Combined, the checks amounted to at least $437,162.24.  

Further, Simontacchi admitted that between 2014 and June 2020, she attempted to evade and defeat income tax that she owed.  Specifically, she caused to be prepared and filed false tax returns for the calendar years of 2013-2019. Simontacchi acknowledged that the total tax loss from her misconduct was over $100,000.

On June 24, 2021, a federal grand jury indicted Simontacchi charging her with seven counts of bank fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344(2); seven counts of misapplication and embezzlement of credit union funds, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 657; and four counts of tax evasion, in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7201.  Pursuant to her plea agreement, Simontacchi pleaded guilty to one count of each crime and has agreed to pay at least $821,525.52 in restitution.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Orrick ordered Simontacchi to serve three years of supervised release to begin after her prison term.  Judge Orrick ordered Simontacchi to surrender on or before August 11, 2022 to begin serving her prison term.  The court has not yet scheduled a hearing to make final determinations regarding restitution. 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amani S. Floyd and Kristina Green are prosecuting this case.  The case was investigated by the FBI and IRS-CI.