Long Beach Man Pleads Guilty to Embezzling From County Foster Homes

A Long Beach accountant pleaded guilty today to charges of embezzling money from several county foster homes, according to officials with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

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Gary Batchelor, 64, entered his guilty plea to two felony counts of misappropriation of public funds and one felony count of filing a false tax return in two separate cases, according to the district attorney’s office.

Officials said Batchelor allegedly embezzled money from group homes operated by You Are the Difference Foundation and Moore’s Cottage, located in Compton, Los Angeles, Altadena and Pomona, and served boys ages 13 to 18.

Batchelor faces three years in state prison when he returns to court on January 13, 2017 and be sentenced by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George Lomeli. He will also 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.

Co-defendant Steven Smith, 56, who is Moore’s Cottage former executive director, pleaded guilty to one felony count each of embezzlement and failure to file a tax return, officials stated.

Smith was immediately sentenced to 30 days in county jail and placed on formal probation for five years, according to the district attorney’s office. He is 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.

Both defendants were charged with embezzling money from Moore’s Cottage between June 2011 and October 2013, officials stated. During that time Batchelor served as board member and chief financial officer and Smith served as executive director.

A grand jury indicted Batchelor in April from stealing from the You Are the Difference Foundation homes.

Both cases were prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Dana Aratani with the Public Integrity Division. The cases were investigated by the Long Beach Police Department, the Los Angeles County Auditor-Controller and the California Franchise Tax Board.

Note: this story was updated on 9/21 at 11:08AM. An earlier version of this story stated that Batchelor pleaded not guilty.



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