Sherry Gong enters plea in Atascadero High School band boosters embezzlement

The wife of San Luis Obispo County’s clerk-recorder on Monday pleaded not guilty to embezzling more than $32,000 from Atascadero High School’s band booster club.

The county District Attorney’s Office on July 8 charged Sherry Gong — wife of Tommy Gong, who oversees the county’s elections — with three counts of grand theft by embezzlement.

The criminal complaint claims Gong, 47, stole $32,554 from the organization between July 2017 and April 2018, when she was serving as treasurer.

Gong appeared on Monday before San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Barry LaBarbera with her attorney, Guy Galambos. She entered a not guilty plea, and the case was continued until next month, according to Eric Dobroth, assistant district attorney.

Gong — who remains out of custody after posting her $25,000 bail earlier in the month — has admitted to embezzling the money, saying she “borrowed” funds to help a family member who claimed to be experiencing an emergency.

She never told her husband or children about the situation and has repaid approximately $28,500 of the money, according to a statement issued by Galambos.

Gong will appear before Superior Court Judge Timothy Covello for a preliminary hearing on Aug. 13.

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Lindsey Holden writes about housing, North County communities and everything in between for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. She became a staff writer in 2016 after working for the Rockford Register Star in Illinois. Lindsey is a native Californian raised in the Midwest and earned degrees from DePaul and Northwestern universities.