Embezzlement sends Santa Rosa bookkeeper to prison

A 37-year-old Santa Rosa bookkeeper convicted of embezzling from her employers has been sentenced to five years and four months in state prison, Sonoma County District Attorney officials said Thursday.

Charity Howder must pay restitution of more than $300,000 to Project Management Practice, Inc. of Petaluma, the Rohnert Park Law Office of Charlotte Creaghan and Andreoli's Towing in Cotati, District Attorney Jill Ravitch said.

Howder embezzled funds from the first two companies from 2005 to 2011, when Howder's unauthorized expenditures were discovered, officials said. Petaluma police arrested Howder Sept. 6, 2012, and during the investigation she came under suspicion for her activities during her work for the towing company. Police found she stole from Andreoli Towing from 2009 until 2011, Ravitch said.

On April 29, Howder entered no contest pleas to felony grand theft, forgery and financial elder abuse, charges that include sentencing enhancements based on the amount of the loss, Ravitch said.

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