A former San Francisco Giants payroll manager was sentenced in federal court in the city today to a year and nine months in prison for embezzling $2.2 million from the team in 2010 and 2011.
Robin O’Connor, 42, of American Canyon, a payroll manager for the baseball club from 2007 to 2011, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge James Ware in November to one count of wire fraud and admitted during the plea to embezzling $2.2 million.
She was sentenced today by Ware, who also ordered her to pay $1,457,000 in restitution to the Giants.
O’Connor previously repaid the team $960,000. The restitution ordered by Ware includes $1,234,000 remaining to be repaid plus about $222,000 for part of the team’s legal and accounting expenses in investigating the theft.
Ware rejected O’Connor’s tearful request to be placed on five years of probation so that she could care for her two young sons, including one with special needs.
“The seriousness of the offense and the amount of money involved will not allow me to impose a probation sentence,” the judge said.
O’Connor told the judge in a shaky voice, “I cannot say how sorry I am that I did this. There is no excuse of taking something that doesn’t belong to you.
“All I want is to be there for my children,” she said.
Federal prosecutor Thomas Stevens asked for a prison term of two years and nine months, noting that while O’Connor used some of the money to pay debts, she spent other embezzled funds on cars, including a BMW, a second home in San Diego, spas and travel.
O’Connor was fired from her job on July 6 after the team discovered the embezzlement.
She admitted during her guilty plea that she stole from both the team and unidentified employees by improperly reducing tax withholdings, taking employees’ salary and expense money, and writing phony paychecks.
In a victim’s statement on behalf of the Giants, attorney Sharon Bunzel said the theft wrought “a fair amount of havoc on the Giants and on employees whose identifications were stolen.”
“The Giants are still dealing with the fallout,” Bunzel said.
“This was definitely a very sophisticated scheme,” said Bunzel, who noted that O’Connor embezzled the money in more than 40 separate transactions.
“We request that the restitution and sentence represent the seriousness of the crime,” the attorney said.
Giants Vice President and General Counsel Jack Bair attended the hearing but declined to comment on the case.
In her plea agreement, O’Connor agreed to forfeit $565,000 in bank accounts, a 2011 BMW and a 2011 Ford Raptor previously seized by the FBI, which will be used to pay down the restitution due.
Ware allowed O’Connor to wait until June 11, after her sons complete the current school year, to begin serving her prison term.
Julia Cheever, Bay City News