A retired accountant for the city of Cupertino was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of embezzling close to $800,000 from taxpayers over the course of 14 years on the job.
Jennifer “Yuen-Cheng” Chang, 66, allegedly cashed numerous fraudulent checks from 2000 to 2014 that amounted to $791,494, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, which investigated the case.
Cupertino employees discovered the missing money through a detailed review earlier this year after implementing a new financial system. Auditors determined that Chang debited the fraudulent checks against a liability account, but the payments raised suspicions because of their nature, size and lack of supporting documentation.
Chang now faces 68 criminal charges, including felony counts of embezzlement, grand theft and unauthorized computer access. The city says it plans to seek full restitution through criminal and civil proceedings.
Investigators say Chang apparently took advantage of her position, expertise and the outdated financial system used by the city.
“Ensuring fiscal integrity is paramount and has been my highest internal priority,” Cupertino Mayor Darcy Paul said in a news release. “This person’s alleged actions are unacceptable and disappointing. We are working to ensure that we have the highest safeguards against fiscal corruption.”
Chang was booked into the Main Jail in San Jose and is being held on $3 million bail.