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Bookkeeper held in theft of $3 million from La Jolla restaurant

September 15, 2011 |  7:54 pm

When Jack's La Jolla closed abruptly in 2009, local food aficionados were caught by surprise.

The trendy restaurant with the impressive menu  --  and a chef from Jean Georges in New York -- had acquired a growing and loyal clientele in its four years.

Reviews had been good.

The Times critic, while leveling a few criticisms, termed Jack's "sophisticated" with "flashes of brilliance," particularly the sweet corn soup with Alaskan king crab and the Muscovy duck breast with white peach, radishes and ginger-spice jus. The wine list had "some interesting French selections."

News stories about the closure suggested it had been done in by the sagging economy.

On Thursday, San Diego police suggested another reason that Jack's closed. 

Tara Moore, 39, the former bookkeeper, was arrested on suspicion of embezzling more than $3 million from the restaurant. The restaurant closed, police said, "as a direct result of this theft"  -- leaving 120 workers jobless.

Serving a warrant on the Point Loma home of Moore and her husband, police seized seized more than $400,000 in antiques, furniture, paintings, exotic Italian silk curtains and other fancy furnishings.

The warrant said the objects had been purchased with money stolen from Jack's.

Moore, booked into County Jail on grand theft charges, is being held in lieu of $2.5-million bail. She is set for arraignment Friday in San Diego County Superior Court.


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Photo: Waiter and restaurant patrons at Jack's La Jolla in 2006. Credit: Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times