LOS ANGELES - On January 25, 2018, the former financial controller of a hotel in downtown Los Angeles was sentenced to eight years in prison for embezzling nearly $626,000 from the business. Jamal Zoukari, 60, of Palm Springs pleaded no contest to five felony counts, including grand theft by embezzlement, computer data fraud and felony tax evasion. Zoukari also admitted enhancements of white collar crime and excessive taking in a negotiated plea.
The court also issued a restitution order requiring Zoukari to repay his employer the $625,975 that he stole, plus 10 percent for each year from the date of loss.
Zoukari stole the money from a corporate business account from June 2009 until December 2015, when an internal investigation by the Millennium Biltmore Hotel uncovered the missing funds. He was arrested and charged on June 30, 2017.
The Los Angeles Police Department’s Commercial Crimes Division and the Criminal Investigations Bureau of the California Franchise Tax Board investigated the case.
“Kudos to the investigators and the deputy district attorney who pursued felony charges in this case of blatant embezzlement,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “Franchise Tax Board investigators often become involved in these types of investigations because the income, embezzled or not, was not reported or taxed.”