Lynn Hogan, a longtime county accountant, pled guilty to embezzling more than $2 million over a nine-year period from three accounts under the domain of the Public Works Department into which developers paid various mitigation fees. As part of the deal, Hogan has agreed to a sentence of nine years and eight months. Hogan, however, is only one of nine defendants to be charged in a far-flung and embarrassing embezzlement scheme that prompted county administrators to hire a private auditor to determine how and why normal checks and balances failed to catch this ongoing pilferage. The crime was exposed only after a temporary receptionist was hired and questioned why Hogan was picking up so many checks for hand-delivery that normally would have been mailed.
Over a nine-year period, Hogan appears to have filed nearly 300 false invoices on behalf of several fictitious vendors, hand delivering many of them. When Hogan and her confederates were first arrested last fall, it was believed they had stolen $1.7 million. Since then, that figure has been increased to $2,051, 470.96. Of the forged checks, Hogan wrote 104 to the tune of $670,000 to the now defunct Tri-Valley Youth Football Conference, on whose board Hogan once sat. She wrote numerous checks to eight confederates, most of whom live in Oxnard, Ventura, and Lompoc. To date, no deal has been struck with any of these eight.
Prosecutors have suggested in court that a large chunk of the money was spent on opiates. The exact relationship between Hogan — who did the heavy lifting — and the beneficiaries of her ill-gotten largesse is the subject of considerable courthouse speculation. One suggestion is that they once bowled together. Most of the eight were related in some fashion to Michael Anzivino of Oxnard.
Calls to Anzivino and to his attorney, Doug Hayes, were not returned by press time. Calls to Hogan, likewise. Her attorney, S.E. Ballard of the Public Defender’s office politely declined to comment.
What prompted Hogan to strike the deal is likewise the subject of speculation. The sentence she agreed to is only eight months shy of the maximum. Did prosecutors withhold filing additional charges? Prosecuting attorney Brian Cota declined to comment beyond anything in the official press release and search warrant affidavit. The preliminary trial is scheduled to take place late this June.
Hogan was writing checks against three funds in a department for which she worked since 1988. That department has a budget of about $100 million. While the incident has proven troublesome for the entire county, it has been especially so for the Auditor and Controller’s office, charged with ensuring proper protocols are followed. This June, county voters will elect a new Auditor-Controller in a race with no incumbent. Both candidates — Jennifer Christensen and Betsy Schaffer — have weighed in on the issue, seeking to score points for their powers of vigilance.