Benjamin Chaney, 33, has been sentenced to five years in prison by Yolo County Superior Court Judge Stephen Mock for embezzling money from his employer, a Davis-based firm. The Brentwood man was convicted of grand theft, embezzlement, one “aggravated white collar crime” enhancement, and two counts of state income tax evasion relating to the theft from his employer.
Chaney had been employed by his mother and father-in-law at Harper Model Home Maintenance where he was their chief financial officer. Between 2003 and 2007, he embezzled over $500,000 from his employer by paying for his personal expenses with corporate funds and altering the records to cover the fraud. The unauthorized purchases included: gifts, child-support payments, computers, furniture, appliances, and mortgage payments. He also used the money to buy assets for a competing business he intended to start. Chaney, who already was earning a six figure salary, failed to claim the income on his tax returns for 2006 and 2007.
Mock ordered Chaney to pay more than $340,000 in restitution to his former employer and more than $67,000 to the state. The judge also sentence Chaney’s wife, Kara Brown, to three years of felony probation for acting as an accessory to her husband’s thefts.
The case was prosecuted by Yolo County Deputy District Attorney Ryan Couzens. It was also a joint investigation with the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) Criminal Investigation Unit.