The former chief accountant of a Tustin tool and die maker was sentenced Friday to 32 months in prison for embezzling $1.4 million over a four-year period.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Myron S. Brown in Santa Ana sentenced Joseph Gornick, 43, who had pleaded guilty to writing Dynacast company checks to a phony firm, then depositing them in a bank account he controlled. The scheme lasted from April, 1986, to February, 1990, when Gornick was fired.
Paul D’Aquanni, Dynacast’s general manager, said the embezzlement has caused his firm “tremendous business problems.” Besides losing money, the company discovered that its business plans--including profit schedules--were inflated as part of Gornick’s cover-up.
“He was the accounting manager, and we all had a lot of confidence he was doing the right thing for us,” D’Aquanni said.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office said nearly all the money is gone. Gornick either gambled it away or lost it investing in ventures that failed, including a company chartering boats, prosecutors said.
Gornick has surrendered his assets, including a condominium, two cars and his retirement accounts. But investigators say those holdings total less than $50,000.
“Unlike some crooks who steal to support their families or even a drug habit, Joseph Gornick stole to invest for his future,” said Deputy Dist. Atty. Guy Ormes.
Julian W. Bailey, Gornick’s attorney, said his client had intended to pay the company back.
“He took more to try and pay back the hole he had dug for himself,” Bailey said. “The hole became deeper and deeper until it consumed him.”
Gornick arranged for checks to be issued to a fictitious company, Semco. The phony company’s name was similar to that of Dynacast’s primary vendor, Semco Enterprises. The checks, ranging in value from $5,397 to $45,000, were deposited into a bank account Gornick controlled.