Ex-San Diego Economic Development Executive Pleads Guilty to Stealing $400,000 From Nonprofit

Ex-San Diego Economic Development Executive Pleads Guilty to Stealing $400,000 From Nonprofit

View of downtown San Diego on Feb. 20, 1992. (Ken Levine /Getty Images)

City News Service

City News Service

4/27/2024

Updated: 4/27/2024

SAN DIEGO—A former San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC) executive who prosecutors say stole more than $400,000 from the nonprofit pleaded guilty April 25 to a federal wire fraud charge.
Katherine Lu Acquista, 47, of Escondido, who previously served as the EDC’s director of operations and accounting, used her access to the EDC’s bank accounts, credit cards, checkbook, and payroll system to siphon money from the organization, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors allege the thefts were concealed through false entries Ms. Acquista made in the EDC’s accounting system, such as fake charges for maintenance, repairs, office supplies or other recurring charges. She also put personal expenses on the nonprofit’s credit card and issued checks to herself. The total loss to EDC was $433,275.89, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Ms. Acquista is slated for sentencing in July.
San Diego U.S. Attorney Tara McGrath said in a statement, “This defendant took funds that were supposed to make San Diego a stronger business community and spent them on herself.”
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