Paso Robles bookkeeper embezzled nearly $500,000 from elderly couple

A Paso Robles woman was sentenced Monday to five-years in prison for embezzling nearly $500,000 from an elderly North County couple.

Diana Russell, 43, worked as a bookkeeper for Sandra and Ole Viborg’s business. From July 2015 through June 2018,  Russell pilfered money from the Viborgs’ business, according to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office.

Ole Viborg, who was a serial entrepreneur and supporter of many local organizations, died on Sept. 22, 2016 at the age of 84, according to his obituary. Sandra Viborg, 80, was present at Monday’s sentencing hearing.

During the hearing, Sandra and Ole Viborg’s daughter-in-law, Debbie Viborg, said Russell was someone who had been treated and trusted like family and had attended family functions. Following her father-in-law’s death, Russell grieved with the family as they made funeral arrangements.

Yet two days later, Russel bought an expensive diamond ring using money she stole from the family, Debbie Viborg said. The “betrayal has permeated our lives,” she said during the hearing.

Judge Craig van Rooyen echoed the sentiment, saying the case was not only about money stolen, but about the sense of betrayal. Van Rooyen sentenced Russell to five years behind bars for the crime of embezzlement from an elder. 

A restitution hearing is scheduled for May 6.