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Law firm office manager pleads guilty to embezzlement, spent money on pet spas, jewelry, vacations

May 23, 2011 |  5:32 pm

The office manager of a Santa Ana law firm was sentenced Monday to four years in prison for embezzling more than half a million dollars to spend on such things as pet spas and jewelry from a home shopping channel, the Orange County district attorney's office said.

Donna Joy Henderson, 68, of Orange pleaded guilty to a felony count of grand theft by embezzlement for skimming $502,000 from the law firm she managed -- Tustin, Rinos and Martin -- as well as falsifying financial records.

Over six years, prosecutors said, Henderson wrote 122 company checks payable to herself, cash, personal credit cards, relatives or fictitious businesses. She started working at the law firm in 2000; the checks were written between 2003 and 2009.

Henderson used the money to live what prosecutors called a lavish lifestyle that included timeshare properties, vacations, home improvements, jewelry and collectibles from the Home Shopping Network, gambling and pampering both herself and her pet.

Beyond the prison sentence, Henderson has been ordered to repay the $502,000.

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-- Rick Rojas

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