Employees of a Petaluma company bonded during the recent economic downturn, providing comfort for one another at a time of heartbreaking layoffs and pay cuts.
Their chief of technology, John C. Sheehan, 43, was seemingly among the tight-knit group at Bibbero Systems Inc., which some workers considered their extended family.
Little did anyone know, as employees lost their jobs and gave up bonuses over the past six years, that Sheehan was lining his pockets with nearly $1.2 million he embezzled from the company.
As the 59-year-old firm shrunk in size from 150 employees to just 62, Sheehan was spending the stolen loot on an extensive remodeling of his Rohnert Park home, buying Mercedes-Benz cars and traveling.
On Tuesday, his former co-workers expressed their outrage in a Santa Rosa courtroom as a judge sentenced Sheehan to more than nine years in prison.