Almanac

News - May 8, 2013

Ex-college IT director sentenced to prison

Bradley John Witham, 42, a former IT director for the San Mateo County Community College District, was sentenced to state prison for three years on April 26 after pleading no contest to forgery and embezzlement charges.

Prosecutors had accused Mr. Witham and an accomplice in the district's IT department, Mark Anthony Bustos, also 42, of embezzling $350,000 from the district over six years, beginning in 2006.

Prosecutors said the two men had engaged in "dozens of online transactions" using the district's credit card to purchase electronic gear, including computers, computer accessories and software, and then selling the gear in online auctions and on Craigslist. Prosecutors had also accused Mr. Witham of submitting three forged receipts to be reimbursed for Apple iPhones and a bunk bed set.

Mr. Witham had resigned his job and was traveling in Australia when Mr. Bustos informed him of an investigation by the district attorney's office, a situation Mr. Bustos discovered after hacking into the district vice chancellor's email account, prosecutors said.

Mr. Witham is an Australian citizen and turned himself in, Assistant District Attorney Morley Pitt said.

In a plea bargain conditioned on no more than five years in prison, Mr. Witham pleaded no contest in February to three counts of felony forgery of documents and one count of embezzlement of public funds by a public official, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. Prosecutors had asked for a six-year maximum.

At the sentencing hearing on April 26, Superior Court Criminal Presiding Judge Jonathan Karesh allowed Mr. Witham 368 days of credit for time already served in jail, where he has been on bail of $1 million. The sentence included additional penalties of $560 in fines, DNA registration, and restitution of at least $49,091, with an additional amount to be determined by the state through the Department of Corrections, prosecutors said.

Mr. Bustos also pleaded no contest in February, but to one count of felony identity theft. With no objection from prosecutors, Mr. Bustos was sentenced to three years probation with the condition that he also serve 90 days in the county jail.

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