An indictment by a federal grand jury and unsealed on Friday, June 22, charges Mandy Natchi Yagi, 54, of San Mateo, and Peter Wong, 43, of Daly City with conspiracy to commit theft from a federally funded program and theft concerning a federally funded program, according to a statement from U. S. Attorney Melinda Haag and Stephanie Douglas, who heads the FBI office in San Francisco.
Both defendants are out of custody on $100,000 bail after appearing in court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins of the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Their next court appearance is set for Wednesday, June 27, federal prosecutors said.
The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office began the investigation and assisted the FBI's investigation that led to this prosecution, prosecutors said.
As deputy public administrators, Ms. Yagi and Mr. Wong had the obligation to protect a decedent's property "from waste, loss or theft," prosecutors said. The role includes making funeral arrangements; investigating a decedent's assets and liquidating them, whether through a public sale or by distribution to heirs; paying the relevant taxes; and locating heirs and ensuring that they receive what is due them.
Ms. Yagi and Mr. Wong had access to decedents' cash, bank accounts and valuable items such as jewelry, the statement said. They used their access "to take possession of estate assets for their personal benefit and for the benefit of persons other than the rightful owner," prosecutors said.
If convicted, the defendants could face maximum prison sentences of five years on the conspiracy charge and 10 years on the theft charge, prosecutors said.