A woman who embezzled nearly $1.5 million from a Cambria construction business was sentenced to 10 years in jail on Monday.
Judge Craig Van Rooyen sentenced Elizabeth Edith Shaw, 68, to 10 years in custody followed by three years of post-release community supervision. Van Rooyen also ordered Shaw to pay $1,491,701.33 in restitution to Winsor Construction.
While working as the construction company’s bookkeeper, Shaw began embezzling money in 2005 and continued stealing until she was caught in 2016. Shaw allegedly admitted to using the money to pay her mortgage and other bills.
Another accountant hired by Winsor Construction uncovered the fraud after Shaw informed the owner of the business that there was only $28,000 left in the company’s operating account.
The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with the SLO County Sheriff’s Office, conducted a 10-month investigation into the embezzlement case prior to charging Shaw. Deputies arrested Shaw in April, and prosecutors charged her in July with 20 counts of felony grand theft by embezzlement and six counts of felony tax evasion. Shaw pleaded no contest to all 26 counts.
Following Shaw’s sentencing, District Attorney Dan Dow released a statement saying Shaw’s crimes were particularly troubling.
“Theft committed by those in positions of trust are especially troubling, particularly when it involves this level of taking over such an extended period of time from a local business,” Dow said. “Our Major Fraud Unit stands ready to aggressively prosecute these and other similar criminal breaches of fiduciary duty.”