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Ex-symphony head charged with embezzlement

Hundreds of thousands of dollars missing from nonprofit's bank accounts

The former executive director of the Peninsula Symphony Association has been accused of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the decades-old Los Altos community orchestra.

Stephen Jay Carlton, a 45-year-old Novato resident, is facing multiple felony charges, including grand theft, embezzlement, forgery, identity theft and tax eviction.

He faces up to 18 years in prison if he is convicted. He was arrested late last week.

Carlton came under suspicion in September 2013 after one of the association's board members was alerted that the 65-year-old nonprofit's funds were unusually low, according to a press release issued by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.

Carlton resigned shortly after board members brought the issue to the Los Altos Police Department, the press release said. One of the symphony's endowments dropped from $227,000 to $375; another was depleted by nearly $200,000 -- going from $195,000 to $395.

In a subsequent investigation, it was shown that Carlton had used association checks to pay himself, prosecutors said. He is accused of forging the signatures of two board members on a number of the checks, taking out an unauthorized $25,000 loan in the association's name and using the money to pay down personal debts.

Comments

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Posted by June Curran
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Mar 6, 2014 at 1:44 pm

[Post removed. We have no way of verifying this information.]


Like this comment
Posted by June Curran
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Mar 7, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Interesting and unfortunate that you removed my comment about Mr. Steven Jay Carlton's condo in Novato being listed several days ago for sale in Novato, Marin County. You said you had no way of verifying this information. Perhaps you didn't realize this verification could be done within a moment by consulting MLS. Anyone can access this information - online - at any time of day or night.

The point I had made is that Mr. Carlton is accused of embezzling nearly $500,000. His condo was just listed on the market for sale. The man is in custody and your article (and others) indicate he will possibly serve up to 18 years for his crime (if convicted). My point was that Mr. Carlton's condo proceeds could be used to repay the Peninsula Symphony for some of the money he allegedly stole.


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