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Petaluma woman gets 29-month prison sentence for embezzling funds from former employer Redwood Credit Union

A Petaluma woman was sentenced this week to 29 months in prison after she admitted to defrauding two former employers out of nearly $822,000, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco announced Friday.

Stephanie Simontacchi, 48, had pleaded guilty to one count each of bank fraud, misapplication and embezzlement of credit union funds and tax evasion while she was employed at Redwood Credit Union and Cavallo Point Lodge.

The 29-month sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge William Orrick, who also ordered Simontacchi to serve three years of supervised release to begin after her prison term. Orrick ordered Simontacchi to surrender on or before Aug. 11 to begin her prison term.

Simontacchi could not be reached Saturday morning.

Federal officials said Simontacchi was employed as a senior accountant and accounting manager at Redwood Credit Union between April 2016 and April 2019. She was responsible for processing voided cashier’s checks and other accounting-related tasks for the credit union.

Simontacchi admitted she used her position to embezzle and misapply approximately 35 checks, including voided cashier’s checks returned to the credit union by its members, U.S. Treasury checks and state government checks intended for the credit union, officials said.

“She deposited the checks into her personal bank and credit card accounts for personal use and used the funds to make payments toward a personal home equity line of credit,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

Combined, the checks amounted to at least $437,162.24, officials said.

Officials said Simontacchi also worked as a bookkeeper and controller at Cavallo Point Lodge near Sausalito from December 2009 through April 2016. While there, she had access to the hotel’s accounting records systems and had signatory authority over the lodge’s bank accounts.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Simontacchi admitted to stealing about 81 accounts payable checks issued by the hotel, as well as accounts receivable checks intended for the hotel, totaling $384,363.28.

“She deposited the checks into her personal bank accounts for her own personal gain,” the statement said.

Officials said Simontacchi prepared and filed false tax returns between 2013 and 2019, for a total tax loss of more than $100,000.

Simontacchi was indicted June 24, 2021, by a federal grand jury on seven counts of bank fraud; seven counts of misapplication and embezzlement of credit union funds; and four counts of tax evasion. She subsequently pleaded guilty to one count of each crime and has agreed to pay at least $821,525.52 in restitution.

The court has not yet scheduled a hearing to make final determinations regarding restitution.

You can reach Staff Writer Martin Espinoza at 707-521-5213 or martin.espinoza@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @pressreno.

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