Two Sentenced for Embezzling Over $180,000 From Business

Mugshots of married couple

Deborah Sears and Jason Sears

Press release from the Mendocino District Attorney’s Office:

Convicted embezzler, Deborah Ann Sears, age 46, of Redwood Valley, was remanded into custody in open court this morning to begin serving a just-imposed state prison sentence of 56 months. Her husband, Jason Eagles Sears, age 46, also of Redwood Valley, having been previously convicted of being an accessory to his wife’s larceny, was placed on supervised felony probation for 60 months. As one term of his probation, defendant Jason must serve 180 days in the county jail. The two defendants were ordered — jointly and severally — to pay restitution to the victim in the amount of $180,179.76. Moving forward, any unpaid balance on the ordered restitution will accrue interest at the legal rate of ten percent.

Following a lengthy Investigation by law enforcement, it was determined that the aforementioned husband and wife team had been involved in embezzling, hiding, and spending over $180,000 stolen from Deep Valley Security during calendar years 2014, 2015, and 2016. Over $37,000 was stolen in 2014, over $79,000 was stolen in 2015, and over $63,000 was stolen in 2016. Defendant Deborah was able to access and steal these sums due to her position of trust as the office manager of the business — my “most trusted employee,” as she was characterized by the owner — during her three-year stint at DVS. Defendant Deborah in part justified her thievery by telling the interviewing probation officer that “she was never recognized or rewarded for her hard work,” and that she was “resentful of others who were not working as hard, but were still being paid the same.”

It was also disclosed to probation during the interviews that during the same time period while money was being illegally siphoned away from DVS, the two defendants were also involved in drug dealing. The defendants admitted growing and selling black market marijuana, and then even hiding their marijuana profits in DVS’s business safe in Ukiah. This was to protect their illegal underground profits from seizure in the event of a law enforcement raid on the defendants’ Redwood Valley home and marijuana business.

The prosecutor who has handled the prosecution of these defendants from the start through today’s sentencing hearing is District Attorney David Eyster. The law enforcement agency responsible for the investigation of the crimes committed was the Ukiah Police Department, with kudos extended to Detective Andy Phillips for an exceptionally thorough and well-done investigation. The judge who imposed sentence on both defendants this morning was Mendocino County Superior Court Presiding Judge John Behnke.>

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