Pasadena Says Employee Swiped $6.4 Million

LOS ANGELES (CN) – A public works official profited from a decade-long $6.4 million embezzlement scheme, some of which he sent to his church, Pasadena claims in court.
     Pasadena sued Danny R. Wooten on Wednesday in a Superior Court complaint of fraud, negligence, false claims, and conspiracy. It wants his accounts frozen, and his co-defendants’ accounts frozen as well.
     Wooten and others were arrested last year and charged with an alleged $6.4 million embezzlement scheme that went unnoticed for more than a decade.
     “In all, Wooten wrongfully and fraudulently directed a total of at least $5,959,710 in city funds to himself and other defendants under the guise of performing electrical contracting services that were never performed,” Pasadena’s lawsuit states. (18)
     The city fired Wooten in June 2014. In December that year Los Angeles County prosecutors charged Wooten, Tyrone Collins and Melody Jenkins in a 60-count felony complaint that included charges of embezzlement, conflict of interest and grand theft with excessive taking.
     Wooten, formerly an analyst at Pasadena’s Public Works Department, is accused of falsifying invoices for 11 years, as he oversaw a project to move the city’s utility lines underground.
     He allegedly diverted $2 million in public money to Collins, the owner of an electric company, and $40,000 in city money to Jenkins, a temporary city employee.
     Jenkins and Collins are also defendants in the city’s lawsuit, as are the Southern California Evangelist Jurisdiction Center and the New Covenant Christian Fellowship Center in Pomona aka the New Covenant Church of God in Christ. That church is subject to the jurisdiction of the Southern California Evangelist Jurisdiction Center, where Wooten was a “ranking member,” Pasadena says.
     Prosecutors claim Wooten diverted money to the two churches.
     The city seeks and accounting, disgorgement, restitution, civil penalties and damages.

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