PAC Worker Sentenced

A former accounts receivable clerk at Costa Mesa, Calif.’s Orange County Performing Arts Center was sentenced to 10 years in prison for embezzling $1.85 million over a five-year period.

Ana Limbaring – who worked at the venue for more than 10 years – was sentenced March 27th after pleading guilty to 31 felonies, including grand theft, embezzlement and computer fraud. Prosecutors said it was the county’s largest charity fraud case in a decade.

She was ordered to pay back the money, plus 10 percent, but Deputy District Attorney Bill Overtoom said it’s doubtful the center will get all the money back. Limbaring does not own property and has $30,000 in savings.

The venue was insured for $1 million of the loss, according to a financial statement.

Limbaring started working at the OCPAC in 1995 and, between September 2000 and September 2005, stole cash that was supposed to be deposited into bank accounts. She created false records to show that the money had been deposited, prosecutors said.

In a letter to Orange County Superior Court Judge Craig E. Robison, Limbaring said she stole the money to support a gambling addiction. Her attorney said she blew virtually all of it at the Pechanga Casino in Temecula.

OCPAC spokeswoman Jennifer Mahal told Pollstar the venue has made some changes to prohibit a similar incident from happening again.

“One of the things that was done internally in our accounting department is to segregate some of the duties,” Mahal said, adding that the PAC has switched the auditing company that annually checks and certifies its books.

Limbaring was in charge of reconciling accounts along with making bank deposits. She was also responsible for checking bank statements against the statements at the venue, which made it easier for her to steal, according to Mahal.

“That has changed,” she said. “Now, a different person reconciles the accounts than the person who is in charge of the accounts.”

Following Limbaring’s September 19th arrest, OCPAC’s Todd Bentjen told Pollstar the matter was brought to the venue’s attention during its annual audit. The center later contacted the Costa Mesa Police Department and, after an investigation, Limbaring was arrested and held on $2 million bail.

Limbaring, who is married and has two grown children, faced up to 19 years in prison before her plea.

– Mitchell Peters