Embezzling Bonds Nets Man a Year in Prison

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – The former finance director of the Association of Bay Area Governments has been sentenced to a year in prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud in the embezzlement of nearly $3.9 million from the group.
     Clarke J. Howatt, 56, pleaded guilty late last year to committing wire fraud. He admitted to perpetrating a scheme to embezzle funds from various bond accounts established by the association’s Finance Authority for Nonprofit Corporations.
     The association is a state joint powers authority established in the 1960s to provide Bay Area government entities with planning and advice on land-use issues.
     Howatt, currently a resident of Portland, Oregon, admitted he gave false information to the trustees of the bond accounts to fraudulently induce them to wire funds to his personal bank accounts. He admitted to embezzling $3,876,135 between June 2011 and January 2015, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California Brian Stretch said in a statement.
     In addition to the one-year prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer also ordered Howatt to serve three years of supervised probation – six months of which will be served in home confinement.
     Howatt must report to prison by May 23.

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