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Sutton Sentenced to 5 Years, 4 Months for Grand Theft, Identity Theft, and Tax Evasion

According to The Press Enterprise on August 30, 2012, the former general manager of a shareholder-owned water company in Moreno Valley was sentenced to 5 years 4 months in state prison.

Debra Sutton, 55, pled guilty in July to grand theft, identity theft, and tax evasion. Investigators say she stole $784,000 and used it for luxury cruises and gambling at local casinos. Sutton, who was immediately taken into custody from the courtroom, did not address the court.

Search warrants served in January claimed that a water company ATM card issued to Sutton was used to pay for cruises to Alaska, the Bahamas, Mexico, the Caribbean, and other places

Additionally, the ATM card was used for purchases and withdrawals "that appear to be very questionable for business account purchases and withdrawals," court documents show.

Those included "numerous purchases and/or withdrawals at:

  • Soboba, Morongo, and Edgewater (Laughlin, Nevada) Casinos.
  • Alaska, Continental, and United Airlines.
  • Macy's.
  • Disneyland.
  • Carnival Cruise Lines of Florida.
  • San Diego Cruise ship terminal.
  • Sam's Club in Bullhead City, Arizona.

Sutton also was ordered to pay restitution: $784,175 to the Box Springs Mutual Water Company and $101,554 for California back taxes.

Sutton once headed the company, a private nonprofit agency that provides water to about 3,300 people in the Edgemont community on Moreno Valley's west side.

In March, dozens of Box Springs shareholders, furious over allegations of embezzlement and lax oversight, ousted the company's former board of directors.

Sutton was charged the next day. She resigned from the water company in February. Her salary was $42,000 a year.

Back to October 2012 Tax News