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Rancho Palos Verdes CFO Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for Embezzling More Than $1 Million Dollars

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Sacramento – The one-time chief financial officer of a popular Southern California restaurant chain was sentenced to five years in prison for embezzling more than $1 million dollars and failing to pay his personal state income tax, the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) announced.

James Edward Cram, 54, pleaded guilty in November 2011, to one count of grand theft and one count of filing a false state income tax return. According to court documents, Cram embezzled more than $ 1 million dollars from 2006 to 2010. He also failed to file his state income tax returns for these same years. Cram owes the state over $200,000 in unpaid tax, interest, penalties, and the cost of the investigation. All income is taxable including income from illegal sources.

Cram is a former executive for a restaurant chain with more than 10 locations throughout Southern California. The company employed Cram from 2006 to 2010 before they suspected he was embezzling funds.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Thomas Sokolov handed down the sentence in Department 4 of the Torrance Superior Courthouse. The Judge ordered Cram, who has been in custody since October 2011, to serve the remainder of his sentence in the Los Angeles County Jail.

Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney John Harlan prosecuted the case.

A restitution hearing is scheduled December 20 in Department 4.

Anyone who has knowledge of tax fraud may call the FTB informant hotline at 1.800.540.3453.

FTB’s criminal investigation program identifies and investigates cases of tax evasion and tax fraud to encourage compliance with California income tax laws and maintain the public trust.

For more information on other taxes and fees in California, visit

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