Almanac

News - August 14, 2013

Bookkeeper found not guilty in embezzlement case

by Sandy Brundage

After an 11-day trial, a jury returned a verdict of not guilty in an embezzlement case filed against Jenny Lin Marquardt, a former bookkeeper at Menlo Atherton Glass.

"The jury acquitted her because she was innocent," defense attorney Charles J. Smith said the day after the Aug. 6 verdict.

The 29-year-old woman had been charged with embezzling more than $50,000 in the form of allegedly unauthorized bonuses during a three-year period, according to the district attorney's office, which said that an outside bookkeeper hired by the Menlo Park business to review the records uncovered discrepancies. The company reported the missing money to police in June 2012.

Ms. Marquardt followed her employer's bonus policy, Mr. Smith said, as demonstrated by the store's financial records. A former prosecutor, he described the police investigation as "atrociously bad."

The district attorney's court notes indicate that at one point the defense recalled Menlo Park police officer Felicia Byars to question her about the calculations on the spreadsheet she used to analyze the data.

Officer Byars was not immediately available for comment.

Prosecutor Kari Gannam believed that poor record-keeping and confusing testimony by the business owner presented significant weaknesses to the case, coupled with a defendant who came across sympathetically to the jury, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

"These are just observations, not excuses. The jury reviewed the evidence and arrived at their verdict. That is how the system is supposed to work," Mr. Wagstaffe commented.

He said the prosecutor does not share Mr. Smith's viewpoint as to the police investigation.

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