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Financial manager who bilked celebrities gets five years in prison

April 19, 2012 |  1:56 pm

A former manager at a Los Angeles financial services firm was sentenced to five years in state prison after pleading guilty to charges stemming from the theft of over $4.6 million from more than a dozen people, including celebrities Debbie Allen, Mariette Hartley and Peggy Lipton, prosecutors said Thursday.

Diane Schumacher, 58, of Irvine pleaded guilty Wednesday to 17 felony counts of grand theft of personal property from 17 victims and was sentenced by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Horwitz to five years in state prison.

Horwitz also ordered Schumacher to pay more than $3.5 million in restitution. Prosecutors noted that Schumacher entered an "open" plea to the court, which means she did not negotiate the settlement with the Los Angeles district atorney’s office.

Schumacher previously worked for Keepers Financial Corp., which provides clients with bookkeeping and bill-payment services. She was fired in 2009 after 12 years at the firm.

The thefts, which were investigated by the LAPD, took place between November 2003 and August 2009 and the amounts taken from individual clients ranged from about $22,000 to more than $690,000. It was discovered during an audit of her clients' accounts.

The defendant used client funds to pay her creditors and also to conceal her crimes by replenishing looted accounts with money from the accounts of other clients, according to prosecutors.

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-- Andrew Blankstein (Twitter.com/anblanx)

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