He bought a hot tub and Coachella tickets with company funds. Now he’s headed to prison
A Riverside man was sentenced Friday to two years in federal prison for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from his company to pay for lavish personal expenses, including Coachella tickets, a home gym and a hot tub.
Matthew P. Hernandez, 46, is a former manager of Networks 2000 Inc., a small tech company based in San Diego. He was entrusted with managing payroll, accounts payable and employee bonuses; instead, federal prosecutors alleged, he devised a scheme to wire money to his personal accounts.
After pocketing more than $350,000 of company funds over hundreds of transactions and a period spanning seven years, Hernandez pleaded guilty to wire fraud at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in August. The sentencing also stipulated a mandatory restitution of $356,644.46 to the company.
Beginning in 2000, Hernandez maneuvered multiple schemes to obtain unauthorized funds for personal use, according to the indictment. As a manager, he issued direct deposits from the company’s checking account to pay off personal credit card debt and used corporate credit cards to buy luxury items including a $3,500 hot tub and a watch priced more than $1,000.
“These thefts are devastating for small businesses,” U.S. Atty. Randy Grossman said in a news release. “This is a significant sentence that hopefully alerts other would-be thieves that stealing from your employer carries significant consequences.”
Patrick Swan, assistant U.S. attorney, and Andrew Byrd, Hernandez’s attorney, could not be reached for comment.
The stories shaping California
Get up to speed with our Essential California newsletter, sent six days a week.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.