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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A former employee of the Glendale city attorney's office pleaded guilty today to a federal charge of embezzling nearly $610,000 by creating documents to make it appear the money was being used to pay civil claims against the city.
Cassandra Alexander, 53, of Winnetka faces sentencing on Jan. 22 on the single felony count of stealing from an organization receiving federal funds. The charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years in federal prison.
Alexander was a claims and litigation support supervisor at the Glendale city attorney's office, where she was responsible for assembling ``settlement packets'' used to resolve claims against Glendale for personal injury or property damage.
Each packet contained approval of the settlement by a member of the city attorney's office and the City Council, as well as authorization for the city's finance department to issue a check to the claimant.
Alexander, who had unlimited authority to sign documents directing the department to issue checks, was responsible for picking up the checks and providing them to claimants' attorneys, according to court documents.
Beginning in July 2001, and continuing through March, Alexander created and submitted fraudulent settlement packets that caused the department to issue 30 checks to her family members and acquaintances.
Alexander created bogus settlement agreements and fake minutes of council meetings. After the finance department prepared the checks, Alexander took possession of the checks and provided them to the payees, who cashed them and transferred the money to her.
Glendale police seized a check for $82,500, payable to one of Alexander's family members, before she was able to have it cashed, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.