SHERMAN OAKS—The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office revealed that a former accountant for Cleopatra Records Inc. was sentenced on Tuesday, November 27 to 6 years and 4 months in state prison for stealing $3.1 million from his previous employer and committing tax evasion.
According to a press release from the LADA’s Office, Deputy District Attorney Scott Dominguez of the White Collar Crime Division indicated Joel David Keyser, 61, of Sherman Oaks entered an open plea of no contest on August 29 to four felony counts each of grand theft of personal property exceeding $950 in value, filing a false tax return and failure to file an income tax return. An open plea means a sentence was not negotiated with prosecutors.
The defendant admitted an allegation that the charges involved fraud and embezzlement of more than a half-million dollars.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James R. Dabney ordered Keyser to pay full restitution to the record company, plus 10 percent annually from the date of loss. He was also ordered to pay $290,670, plus annual interest of 10 percent, to the California Franchise Tax Board for back taxes, penalties and the cost of investigation.
The defendant was a certified public accountant at Punch Productions and worked for Cleopatra Records Inc. for 20 years, and between January 2006 and July 2012, he took more than $3.1 million from the company by writing checks from the company’s accounts to himself and to cash, through wire transfers and by giving unauthorized loans from the business.
The owners of the company realized the theft in July 2012 and filed a complaint with the District Attorney’s Office’s Bureau of Investigation, White Collar Crime Unit. The Bureau and the California Franchise Tax Board investigated the matter. Keyser is expected to surrender to authorities by January 7, 2019 to begin serving his sentence.