A former city employee has been sentenced to three years in state prison after he failed to pay back $34,500 he embezzled from the Lynwood housing rehabilitation program for low-income residents.
Adrian Picou, 33, of Gardena pleaded guilty on July 5 to five of 11 counts of embezzlement and one count of obtaining a false voucher to get construction funds with a promise to pay back the money by Sept. 5, Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Saria said.
Picou’s sentencing was delayed several times in order to give him time to pay back the money, Saria said. Under a plea bargaining agreement, if Picou had returned the money on time, the district attorney’s office had recommended that he serve one year in County Jail and be placed on five years’ probation.
Compton Superior Court Judge Gary Hahn sentenced Picou on Dec. 5.
Picou, who had worked for the city of Lynwood since 1987, resigned as senior housing rehabilitation specialist in December, 1989, following allegations that he had continued to work as an outside contractor while being employed by the city. City officials said they discovered the embezzlement scheme after Picou left.
Picou was accused of fraudulently withdrawing money from escrow accounts set up for the program. The money went to a company owned by Picou, but there was no evidence that the company ever performed any rehabilitation work, Saria said.