Embezzler gets 5 years in prison

LOS ANGELES - Gerald McAfee, the man convicted of embezzling more than $1 million from a Downey hospital two decades ago, was sentenced last week to five years in prison.At sentencing, McAfee begged for mercy and asked U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real to allow him to return to his family in Thailand. "I am humbly pleading and begging for mercy - not for me, for my children," McAfee said in court, according to the Associated Press. "The man you see before you now is not the foolish man who committed the crime in '86." Real rejected the request, saying "this man has not been truthful for most of his life." McAfee, 66, embezzled $1.3 million from College Hospital in Downey in 1986. According to a plea agreement, the money was placed in the brokerage account of a phony company. McAfee then took control of the cash in the form of bearer bonds and fled to Europe, prosecutors said. A tip led authorities to Thailand in 2007, where McAfee had married and started a family under an assumed name. McAfee spent eight months in a Thai prison before he was extradited to Los Angeles. He pleaded guilty to the charges last year in a plea agreement that called for a five-year prison term, the AP reported. McAfee told the court he spent the money within five years of embezzling it, and had been working as an English teacher in Bangkok.

********** Published: April 17, 2009 - Volume 7 - Issue 52