A preliminary hearing began last Friday in the case of Freddy Pachon, an Oxnard man charged with one felony count of grand theft and five counts of filing a false tax return after embezzling over $700,000.00 from his former employer and failing to include this income in his tax returns.
Between January 2008 and December 2012, while serving as Select Staffing’s Vice President of Risk Management, Pachon allegedly funneled money from reimbursement checks related to workers’ compensation claims into a personal account he created under the fictitious entity, “Select Consulting Services.”
During the hearing, the court heard testimony from three witnesses subpoenaed by the prosecutor Brian Cota. The first witness to take the stand was Stephen Alcott, an auditor at Select Staffing, who testified as to Pachon’s job duties at Select Staffing, and what irregularities prompted an investigation into Pachon’s conduct.
The next witness to testify was Paula Orozco, the sister-in-law of Pachon, who was responsible for mailing all of the reimbursement checks to Select Consulting Services after being given a job at AG Employment Services, the company contracted out by Select Staffing to handle medical claims, by Pachon.
Granted immunity for her testimony, Orozco stated that she mailed the checks to the address provided to her by Pachon, and on some occasions, even hand-delivered the checks to Pachon in the Select Staffing parking lot or at his personal residence. She ended her testimony by stating that “no one said it was not okay to do that,” and announcing that she was fired after AG found out where the reimbursement checks were going.
The final witness to take the stand was Peter Norell, one of the investigators who conducted the investigation against Pachon in 2013. Norell testified that during the investigation, Pachon admitted that he “was taking that money even though he was not authorized to do so,” due to a “financial hardship” stemming from his move from Santa Barbara. He also testified that Pachon admitted to failing to report this excess income when filing his tax returns.
While Pachon’s lawyer, Adam Braun, didn’t contest the accusations made against Pachon — he said Pachon was trying to make amends by giving more than $300,000 from the proceeds of the sale of his house and more $70,000 from a retirement account back to Select Staffing — Braun did argue over the issue of Pachon’s intentions for committing the crime. According to Braun, Pachon embezzled the money with former CEO Stephen Sorenson’s knowledge, as Sorenson had allegedly promised Pachon bonuses and Pachon may have viewed the embezzled funds as money he was owed under Sorenson’s promises.
Cota said Pachon could face upwards of 13 years in prison if convicted. He will appear back in court on April 13.