Former Buena Park city staffers sentenced on embezzlement charges

Two former parks and recreation mangers for Buena Park plead guilty to embezzlement, sentenced to prison

Two former Parks and Recreation managers with Buena Park who were responsible for their staff's time cards were sentenced Friday for public corruption and embezzling more than $1.3 million. 

Rudolph Peter Juarez, 58, of Anaheim and Gabriel A. Garcia, 42, of Chino Hills pleaded guilty Friday to 233 and 186 felony counts of misappropriation of public funds, respectively, and four felony counts each of filing a false tax return or willful failure to file, plus sentencing enhancements. 

Juarez, a maintenance manager who oversaw the upkeep of the city's parks, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Garcia, who worked under Juarez as a supervisor, was sentenced to six years.

They were also ordered to pay a total of more than $1.3 million in restitution to the city and more than $2.6 million in fines, according to a statement from the Orange County district attorney's office. 

"Mr. Juarez not only stole a tangible item, but he tarnished the city's reputation and that of its hardworking employees," Buena Park City Manager James Vanderpool said during the sentencing hearing. "His actions gave the public a reason to lose faith in their local government." 

According to the district attorney's statement, the pair billed the city for fraudulent maintenance, janitorial and landscaping work between 2005 and 2011.

Juarez and Garcia used fake names and the names of former city employees to submit fake payroll requests. They also set up a scheme to bill for landscaping work that was never done.

Payments were deposited into accounts that Juarez and Garcia set up. Neither filed taxes on the embezzled money. 

The men were arrested in August 2013.

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