A UCLA finance director has been arrested and charged with the embezzlement of tens of thousands of dollars from City University of New York. He worked at CUNY from 2008 to 2012 as a finance official.

Embezzlement Charges Against UCLA Financial Director

According to a complaint filed by the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York, between 2008 and 2012 Carmine Marino took a total of $81,000 from a tuition account at CUNY’s school of professional studies. Marino then allegedly transferred the money two separate accounts that only he had control over.

“We are actively reviewing the charges and intend to vigorously defend against them,” said Marino’s lawyer, David Smith.

Marino was working at CUNY’s school of professional studies from 2007 until May 2012, and then in the university’s City College until 2013 when CUNY fired him after discovering some of the illegal transactions. According to the lawsuit, the university eventually settled with Marino and thus withdrew his termination and allowed him to resign.

“When misconduct was first discovered by CUNY, the university brought internal charges that resulted in Mr. Marino losing his position,” wrote Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs Jane Sovern in an email statement. “When an additional improper account was discovered in an audit, the information was referred to law enforcement.”

Marino began working for UCLA in September 2014 as a senior director of business and finance services. UCLA was not aware of the allegations when Marino was hired.
According to UCLA spokeswoman Kathryn Kranhold, Marino was earning $145,908 a year. He has been placed on paid leave while UCLA conducts an internal review of his time at the university, Kranhold said.

After making an appearance in federal court in Manhattan, on April 7, Marino was released on $50,000 bail.

Embezzlement

Embezzlement is when an individual steals money or property that he or she has been entrusted to manage. It is punished in accordance with the type or value of the property, or the amount of money stolen under Ca. Penal Code § 514. When aggravating factors apply, penalties increase. Below we discuss some of these penalties.

Petty Theft

Property worth less than $950 is considered petty theft and is charged as a misdemeanor. A defendant can receive a jail sentence of six months or less, and a fine of up to $1,000. If the property stolen is worth less than $50, the prosecutor can charge the offense as an infraction. This lesser charge is not available to defendants with prior theft or theft-related convictions. Infractions carry a penalty of a fine up to $250.

Grand Theft

Property worth more than $950 is considered grand theft and is charged as a misdemeanor. If convicted, a defendant can receive a jail sentence of up to one year under (Ca. Penal Code §§ 484 to 502.9.). A defendant can also receive state prison time of 16 months, 2, or 3 years is for felony grand theft, for enumerated items.

Embezzlement of Public Money

Embezzling public money is considered a felony in California. A defendant that is convicted of embezzlement and embezzling public money may face increased fines and penalties. These can often include repayment of the stolen property or funds, and between two and four years in prison. The defendant is also considered permanently ineligible for any position in state or local government. These crimes are charged under 13 Cal Pen.Code § 514.

Money Laundering

Money laundering is a crime that involves moving illicit money into legitimate channels in order to disguise the money’s illegal source and avoid tax officials. Some forms of criminal activity, such as drug smuggling, yield large amounts of cash, leaving the criminals with the problem of what to do with the vast amounts of money they earn. One solution is to take this “dirty” money and channel the funds through bank accounts of legitimate businesses.

Other money laundering activities include transactions such as bank deposits, withdrawals, fund transfers, wire transfers, payments, and other financial activities. Sophisticated use of current technology creates paper trails in money laundering cases that may not only be more complex; they may also be more difficult to uncover because many financial transactions are completed entirely using anonymous means like bitcoins.Embezzlement and fraud may also be associated with money laundering.

California Money Laundering Laws: Penal Code Section 186.10 PC

Money laundering is a serious federal crime that involves taking money that has been unlawfully obtained and working to integrate it so it may appear to come from a lawful source. A defendant may face money laundering charges brought under federal laws or California state laws. Those charged with money laundering also may face racketeering/RICO charges if they are involved in organized crime.

Penal Code Section 186.10 PC contains the following elements:

  • The defendant completed a transaction or a series of transactions through a financial institution.
  • The total amount of the transaction(s) must be more than $5,000 in a seven day period OR more than $25,000 in a 30 day period
  • The transaction(s) was made with the intent to promote criminal activity or the defendant knew that the funds involved were from the proceeds of criminal activity.

Money Laundering under Penal Code 186.10 PC is a “wobbler,” which means that a prosecutor can file either misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the factual circumstances and the defendant’s criminal history.

Misappropriation of Funds

As is often the case in many crimes, misappropriation of funds requires that prosecutors must prove to a jury certain number of points or elements of the crime. Misappropriation of funds has four:

  • Control but not ownership. The prosecutor must show that the owner of the property entrusted or gave the money to the defendant, or otherwise allowed the defendant control over it. In short, the defendant rightfully had possession, but not ownership.
  • Intent. First, a person must knowingly misappropriate the money, and cannot commit the crime by making a mistake or error. It can be enough for a prosecutor to show that the accused intended to take any action that results (or would likely result) in the misappropriation of funds.
  • Conversion. In order to commit misappropriation of funds, a person must not only take the money but must use it for his own purposes. Even transfer of money to a bank account or the refusal or failure to hand over the owner’s money when the owner demands it is considered misappropriation.
  • Return. A person who misappropriates funds with the intent to later return the money to the rightful owner is still guilty of misappropriation. It also doesn’t matter if the misappropriation only lasted for a short amount of time.

Working with a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Being accused of a white collar crime like money laundering is not to be taken lightly. While buyers might face penalties if it has been discovered that they have provided false names, the penalties will be far worse if it’s discovered that money laundering has also taken place.

The sooner a Los Angeles white collar crimes defense attorney can get involved in a white collar case, the better. If you have not already been charged with a criminal offense but believe you are the target of an investigation, contact our Los Angeles law office immediately. We may be able to help you avoid being charged with a crime.

If you have been charged with a white collar crime, we may be able to negotiate a resolution to your case with the prosecution in which you pay restitution and either avoid a criminal conviction, plead guilty to a lesser offense, avoid incarceration or significantly limit any time you may be required to serve. As a former prosecutor, Los Angeles white collar crimes attorney Daniel Perlman is highly adept at communicating with prosecutors and understands the critical importance of proactive case management. Finding creative solutions to criminal problems is a hallmark of our firm.

Daniel R. Perlman, Esq.
Law Offices of Daniel R. Perlman