San Fernando City (Calif.) Employees Charged with Embezzling Public Money

October 8, 2004

Two San Fernando city (California) employees have been charged with embezzling more than $30,000 from the city in goods and services including falsifying invoices, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Max Huntsman with the Public Integrity Division said city officials discovered the alleged fraud after someone reported a San Fernando city truck and trailer parked in Pomona in August. An investigation by city officials and the San Fernando Police Department revealed that the two employees allegedly signed off on a number of fraudulent charges to the city.

Charged with multiple counts of misappropriation of public funds are Steven Angarita, 25, a management analyst for the city of San Fernando, and Bruce Hartwell, 53, an equipment supervisor for the city. Also charged in the complaint are Manuel Rubio, 46, owner of North Valley Auto Collision in San Fernando, and Gilberto Salcedo, 31, owner of Quality Auto Upholstery in Sylmar.

Angarita allegedly borrowed a city truck to haul 300 bottles of beer for his wedding in August and left it in Pomona in front of his bride’s home while he went on his honeymoon. Hartwell allegedly directed the city’s motor pool to prepare the truck, including modifying it with a trailer hitch.

Angarita also allegedly funneled $10,000 through a money-laundering scheme for city work that was not performed. He also allegedly had work done on his personal car and on his boat at North Valley Auto and Quality Auto Upholstery. He is charged in case No. PA049563 with six felony counts of misappropriation of public funds.

Hartwell allegedly defrauded the city by directing contractors to submit fraudulent invoices. He is charged with five counts of misappropriation of public funds.

Rubio and Salcedo both allegedly performed work on Angarita’s personal car and boat and received several checks from the city based on fraudulent invoices they submitted. Rubio is charged with two counts of misappropriation of public funds and Salcedo is charged with one count.

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