LOS ANGELES - On September 20, 2016, a Long Beach accountant pleaded guilty to embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from several county foster homes that assisted boys 13 to 18 years old.
Gary Batchelor, 64, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of misappropriation of public funds and one felony count of filing a false tax return in two separate cases. The group homes, located in Compton, Los Angeles, Altadena and Pomona, were operated by You Are the Difference Foundation and Moore’s Cottage.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George Lomeli is expected to sentence Batchelor to three years in state prison when he returns on Jan. 13, 2017, for sentencing. In addition, Batchelor will be ordered to pay $356,435 in restitution, including $40,329 to the state Franchise Tax Board and $193,865 to You Are the Difference Foundation.
"Investigations such as this can be very lengthy and complex," said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. "Working together with local agencies, investigators were able to put a stop to this illegal activity. It is a shame that anyone would even consider taking away from efforts to assist at-risk children and young adults."
Co-defendant Steven Smith, 56, the former executive director at Moore’s Cottage, pleaded guilty to one felony count each of embezzlement and failure to file a tax return. He was immediately sentenced to 30 days in county jail and placed on formal probation for five years. He also was ordered to pay $30,171 in restitution, including $23,942 to the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and $6,229 to the state Franchise Tax Board.
Batchelor and Smith were charged in 2015 with embezzling money from Moore’s Cottage between June 2011 and October 2013. At the time, Batchelor was a board member and chief financial officer at Moore’s Cottage and Smith was executive director.
The cases were investigated by the Long Beach Police Department, the Los Angeles County Auditor-Controller and the California Franchise Tax Board.