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Ex-Atherton town employee pleads no contest to embezzlement

Original post made on May 16, 2011

Former Atherton town employee Lois English pleaded no contest in San Mateo County Superior Court on May 2 to charges of embezzlement and petty theft from the post office while she was working at the annex in Atherton Town Hall, according to Deputy District Attorney Kevin Collins.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, May 16, 2011, 12:24 PM

Comments (23)

Posted by Ed, a resident of Atherton: other
on May 16, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Isn't this the employee who [portion removed; please don't post unsubstantiated allegations]? Thus the transfer across the way to Admin?
And also the same employee known to have forged the signature of the Building Official on numerous permits for projects that were specifically cited in the audit?


Posted by Wait a minute, a resident of Atherton: other
on May 16, 2011 at 1:43 pm

How could embezzlement from a U.S. Post Office not involve a FEDERAL prosecution?? It's a federal crime and is prosecuted as such all the time.

Is it because Lois was friends with Brennan and Nielsen and they steered it, along with Guerra, to the San Mateo D.A. so she'd be treated with kid gloves? The Atherton P.D. has no pull with the federal prosecutors.

The sentence certainly seems to indicate that.

I guess there's no reason for Ms. English to leak whatever dirt she might have on the APD now, huh?


Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on May 16, 2011 at 3:22 pm

I presume what is being referred to as a Post Office Annex, is basically the City's Mail Room. The City couldn't transfer an employee from one of its jobs to one working for the US Postal Service. So long as she didn't tamper with the incoming or out going mail, the fact that she may have stolen City funds while working in its Mail Room would not be a federal crime.


Posted by peter carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 16, 2011 at 3:29 pm

peter carpenter is a registered user.

The Town operates a contract USPS office that accepts mail and sells stamps to the public.


Posted by Ed, a resident of Atherton: other
on May 16, 2011 at 6:00 pm

I understand that the thefts were of money orders taken while operating the post office desk in the Town's administrative offices--that desk is Federal property and a Federal offense unless the amount of the loss was either Actually under the amount, or Strategically Kept under the grand theft limit, in order to allow the county DA's to be able handle the case in house with out involving the Feds. [Portion removed; avoid unsupported allegations and hearsay.]


Posted by Stu Slessinger, a resident of another community
on May 16, 2011 at 8:48 pm

At the same time Ms. English was found to have stolen money from the Post Office, a former Town employee had filed a criminal complaint with the DA that Ms. English had fraudulently processed building permits and falsified official records.

The DA has much to answer for here. Why did he go so lighly on English? Why didn't he investigate Ms. English's apparent fraudulent activities in the Building Department? Why didn't he refer this matter to the FBI?

Perhaps the Feds will seek an answer to these quesitons from Mr. Wagstaffe.

It doesn't take alot of imagination here to conclude Ms. English's connections with the Police Department won her favorable treatment from the DA. Ms. English was, after all a star witness in the Troy Henderson case. [Portion removed; avoid unsupported allegations]
On another point. Mr. Carpenter seems to be mistaken about the nature of the relationship between Atherton and the US Postal Service.

The money handled by the Town while selling stamps is federal property. It is not Town property. The feds are very strict about separating cash. Cash collected at the post office is accounted for separately and is handed over directly to the USPS. If the theft Ms. English pled no contest to was related to her activities as a postal clerk, it would indeed appear to warrant federal prosecution.




Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 16, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Stu states:"Mr. Carpenter seems to be mistaken about the nature of the relationship between Atherton and the US Postal Service."

Wrong, I simply stated the fact that "The Town operates a contract USPS office that accepts mail and sells stamps to the public." I made no comment about any other aspect of that contractual relationship.

Stu - be more careful with your assertions. Feel free to enlighten with facts but don't misrepresent what others have posted.


Posted by Most troubling, a resident of another community
on May 16, 2011 at 9:03 pm

What might be the most troubling thing here is the timeline.

According to the Almanac archives, Lois English testified against Troy Henderson in July 2009 in the Pilar Buckley case.

Although Henderson was acquitted, if it was known to Atherton police (who also testified) or the D.A. that Ms. English was going to be charged for embezzlement, they would have had to disclose this to Henderson's attorney as it would certainly be legitimate impeachment.

I do not believe they did disclose this since, obviously, Henderson's attorney would have used it in his cross-examination of Ms. English, and this was not written in the article.

Criminal charges were filed against Ms. English some two months later. Maybe the dates crossed, but if they didn't, if the APD knew about this embezzlement and didn't disclose it ,some due process rights in the Henderson criminal prosecution were tampered with.

Just imagine, you are on trial for a crime, there is a witness against you and the prosecution doesn't reveal that he or she has been involved in criminal activity. You would not feel that was fair.


Posted by Stu Slessinger, a resident of another community
on May 16, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Dear Mr. Carpenter

My apologies. My comment should have been directed at "WhoRYou People"

The aforementioned anonymous poster is completely ignorant about (or knowingly misrepresents) the nature of the relationship between the USPS and the Town. Your comments were circumspect in this regard.

I suspect "WhoRYou People" is part of the old guard who have been so thoroughly discredited by the actions of Lois English.


Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on May 17, 2011 at 8:25 am

Mr. Slessinger - I have to echo Peter's comment that you should refrain from misrepresenting what others have posted, and add that you also should refrain from assuming you know the reasons some posters choose anonymity. I don't live in Atherton and could care less what goes on there. I do live in SM County and am very concerned about some of the things that apparently go on in the DA's office I did not know that the Town operated under contract the the USPS. I said in my post, "I presume"... My bad, I usually avoid making statements based on presumptions. Given the information I have read in the subsequent posts, IF all is accurate (I won't presume one way or the other), but if accurate, then I absolutely agree with you that the DA has a lot to answer for. I recall there was at least a rumor that the FBI was investigating the DA's office for other reasons; if so, I suspect they're aware of this matter and will add it to the growing list of suspicous "stuff".


Posted by Stu Slessinger, a resident of another community
on May 17, 2011 at 10:39 am

Dear WhoRUpeople

Your point is well taken. Your expression of concern over the conduct of the DA is much appreciated.







Posted by bob, a resident of Woodside: other
on May 17, 2011 at 10:46 am

To WhoRUpeople you are telling other posters not to print assumptions or presumptions, yet you mention this rumor of an FBI investigation. This supposed investigation seems to have stalled or it is dead. It seems that you only like rumors when you make them up.This investigation is BS until it happens.


Posted by Interesting, a resident of another community
on May 17, 2011 at 10:50 am

[Post removed; don't speculate on the identities of anonymous posters]


Posted by Thanks to John Johns, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 17, 2011 at 11:00 am

According to this article and my own knowledge, John Johns flagged this problem several years ago, along with many others, and got fired for it in retaliation. Every problem that was flagged by Johns has come to roost, whether police, building department, or English. Instead of trying to discredit this guy, we should be hiring him back.


Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community
on May 17, 2011 at 11:45 am

Bob says,

"This supposed investigation seems to have stalled or it is dead. It seems that you only like rumors when you make them up.This investigation is BS until it happens."

He's referring to the story about the FBI investigation.

My question to Bob of Woodside is why would you care so much about it. I read about it and I don't care how long it takes. From what I know investigations take time, relax.


Posted by bob, a resident of Woodside: other
on May 17, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Major investigations take time, I doubt the SM county DA falls in that category.


Posted by Michael G. Stogner, a resident of another community
on May 17, 2011 at 12:28 pm

I don't know multiple players over time, multiple crimes, etc..could take awhile...

Time will tell, again nothing to be concerned about if you are not involved.

Steve Wagstaffe is not concerned.


Posted by Hmmmm, a resident of Atherton: other
on May 17, 2011 at 12:36 pm

I don't remember "Bob" or anyone else including the APD complaining that the DA's 18-month investigation of John Johns was a fabrication because it didn't lead to conclusive results right away. In fact, that investigation truly was a sham.

Both (DA and FBI) investigations are very much related to this topic, since (1) Johns flagged the English issue, and (2) this was supposed to have been a federal prosecution but was diverted to Wagstaffe because the APD has no clout with the feds.


Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community
on May 17, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Bob--I did not tell other posters how or what to post or not post. I said, I (as in me, myself) avoid making presumptions, period. Since the FBI by policy will not confirm or deny any investigation it is conducting, what would you call it when people start saying they think one is going on? I chose the word rumor you chose the words BS. I like mine better. May I suggest a reading comprehension course, Bob.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 17, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Call it what you want but the fact is that a number of people have been interviewed by the FBI. Do you think that FBI did that simply because they were bored and had nothing else to do?


Posted by Ed, a resident of Atherton: other
on May 17, 2011 at 4:30 pm

The sad truth is that it shouldn't have taken an investigation by Federal agents to figure out what has gone wrong here. It is simple enough at it's core that Your average ten year old could explain it just as well, but without the muscle to enforce any corrective action.
Thank you for your time and resources FBI... if your are really out there.


Posted by Ranch Gal, a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on May 18, 2011 at 9:22 am

[Post removed. Too much speculation.]


Posted by Stu Slessinger, a resident of another community
on May 18, 2011 at 9:23 am

[Post removed. Too much speculation.]


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