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Manteca man charged by federal grand jury for alleged $1 million fraud

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POSTED November 30, 2012 1:04 a.m.

A 33-year-old Manteca man was arrested Wednesday on a 20-count federal grand jury indictment for allegedly embezzling nearly $1 million from a Stockton corporation.

Chris Barna, 33, was charged with misappropriating funds from his employer, M&C Association Management Services, Inc., according to United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner.

The case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney S. Robert Tice-Raskin is serving as prosecutor in the court proceedings against Barna.

Barna was the controller for M&C which provided association management and developer services to community associations throughout Northern California.  According to the court’s release, he was responsible for the corporation’s account and collection departments.

The indictment alleges that from April 2008 until May of 2011, Barna misappropriated some 342 checks that were payable to his employer, its parent company and from third parties or payable to third practices from M&C.

Barna allegedly forged false endorsements of the payees on certain checks and endorsed “deposit only,” or similarly.  He deposited these checks into various bank accounts that he controlled at Wells Fargo Bank even though the checks were not his rightful property, the release states.

It was stipulated that he had no authority to negotiate the checks and that he had no right to the proceeds of the checks.  Barna then manipulated financial records at M&C to conceal the fraud, according to the indictment.  Barna had reportedly used proceeds of the fraud to pay for a series of his own personal obligations and expenses.

At his initial court appearance, U.S. Magistrate Judge Kendall J. Newman released Barna on a $200,000 bond and ordered him to appear for a status conference on January 14 before United States District Judge William B. Shubb.

If convicted, Barna faces a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine for each of the 20 counts against him.  Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variable.

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