A Cambria woman who pleaded no contest to stealing more than $1.2 million from Winsor Construction while working as their accountant was sentenced to 10 years in San Luis Obispo County Jail on Monday but will only serve half that time.
Elizabeth Edith Shaw entered the no-contest plea in August to 26 charges, including grand theft, aggravated white collar crime over $100,000, and tax evasion.
Under the terms of her plea deal, Shaw, 68, was sentenced to 10 years in County Jail and three years of mandatory supervision under the Probation Department. But due to automatic credits under state law as well as time-served and good behavior, Shaw will serve less than five years in custody.
She’ll also be ordered to pay about $1.4 million in restitution to Winsor Construction, according to a news release from the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office.
Shaw has been in custody at the County Jail since her arrest in May.
Hired by Winsor Construction as a bookkeeper in 2000, Shaw began embezzling from the company in 2005 and by 2016 had stolen a total of approximately $1.2 million, according to a sentencing memorandum filed by the District Attorney’s Office Sept. 14.
According to a Probation Department report released Monday, Shaw’s deception was discovered after the company owner, Tim Winsor, told Shaw he wanted to provide $20,000 in Christmas bonuses to his employees and was told by Shaw there was only $28,000 in the business’ account.
In an interview with a prosecutor and detective in March, Shaw said she cashed forged company checks in order to pay her mortgage and other bills, the detective’s affidavit states.
However, when asked by a probation officer in an interview earlier this month what she did with the stolen money, Shaw replied: “I traveled ... gave it to the homeless ... animal shelters ... and I helped people.”
According to the probation report, the owners of Winsor Construction said they’ve been devastated by the crimes and are working hard to restore their company.
The report states that they think Shaw may have stashed some of the stolen money.