Former Jewish center official who stole $400,000 gets 1 year in jail

The former chief financial officer at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center in La Jolla was sentenced Friday to a year in jail after pleading guilty to embezzling more than $400,000 from the center.

Nancy Johnson, 59, pleaded guilty in San Diego federal court to wire fraud and filing false income tax returns.


Johnson admitted misappropriating $412,289.64 from the center, which she used for a stay at a resort in Maui, airfare to the Bahamas, designer Jimmy Choo shoes, tickets to the ESPN X Games and dining at upscale restaurants, among other things, according to court documents.

The scheme was discovered after Johnson left the center in 2014.

The organization was forced to cut back on programs and lay employees off, according to court documents.

U.S. Atty. Laura Duffy promised to do everything in her power to ensure that  "white collar predators" don't rip off other charitable groups.

Founded in 1945, the center is designed to offer social, cultural and recreational programs, including the Jewish Film Festival and the Jewish Book Fair, and has an annual budget of $13 million.

Johnson was ordered by District Judge Dana Sabraw to pay $115,441 to the Internal Revenue Service. She has already repaid $412,289.64 to the Jewish Community Center, officials said.