No Jail Time for Former SEDC Leaders

No Jail Time for Former SEDC Leaders

Photo by Sam Hodgson

Former SEDC President Carolyn Y. Smith pleaded guilty in November to one count of embezzlement. (file photo)

 

Carolyn Y. Smith and Dante Dayacap, the former Southeastern Economic Development Corp. officials at the center of a clandestine bonus scheme exposed by voiceofsandiego.org, won’t go to jail for their crimes.

The former redevelopment leaders, who had pleaded guilty to one count apiece of embezzling public funds, were sentenced today in San Diego Superior Court. Smith, the agency’s former president, was sentenced to perform 360 hours of community service, in addition to receiving a one-year suspended jail sentence.

Dayacap, the former finance director, received 240 hours community service and a nine-month suspended sentence.

Combined, they’ll have to pay restitution of $435,018.36. They’ll repay the city of San Diego at the rate of $100 per month — which amounts to $1,200 annually each. At that rate, the money won’t be repaid until the year 2193. Both are on probation for five years.

In a lengthy statement, Judge Edward Allard III laid out his reasoning for not imposing the jail time the prosecutors had asked for. He said the defendants had already suffered significantly, losing their careers, incomes and reputations.

“By their pleas, they have now been held accountable,” he said. “I think it rings out loud and clear to other individuals in similar positions to the defendants, that if they choose to ignore the law and perpetrate an economic crime, they will, in fact, be accountable.”

Allard put the restitution repayment at the center of his reasoning.

“The only way that restitution is going to be secure for victims is by having the defendants repay it,” the judge said. “They’ve got to be working to repay it. They can’t repay it if they’re in custody.”

While in power, Smith and Dayacap paid themselves and other SEDC employees significantly more than they had reported to their board, the City Council and the public. By keeping key positions unfilled and obscuring budget documents, they funneled more than $1 million over five years to themselves and others without authorization.

The state Attorney General’s Office had accused them each of five criminal felony counts: conspiracy to commit a crime, three counts of embezzlement of public funds, and one count of misappropriation of public funds.

Before pleading guilty, the two each faced a maximum of seven years and four months in prison.

Smith and Dayacap took turns addressing the court, which was packed with loyal supporters.

Holding back tears, Dayacap apologized.

“I apologize to the city of San Diego, SEDC and the citizens of this community. My family, friends and associates were hurt because of my conduct,” Dayacap said. “I am deeply sorry. But most importantly, I am remorseful for the mistakes I made and I take full responsibility for my actions.”

Looking more composed, Smith added her apologies.

“This has been a difficult time for me grasping just what I did. And I’ve sought counseling to help me with that. I think I’m working through that and I am remorseful.”

Will Carless is an investigative reporter at voiceofsandiego.org. You can contact him directly at will.carless@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5670.

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Will Carless

Will Carless

Will Carless is the former head of investigations at Voice of San Diego. He currently lives in Montevideo, Uruguay, where he is a freelance foreign correspondent and occasional contributor to VOSD. You can reach him at will.carless.work@gmail.com.

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46 comments
Jim Jones
Jim Jones subscriber

No where does it say theft should not be punished, and no where does it say justice should be denied. It is not ungodly to send a thief to jail.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones

No where does it say theft should not be punished, and no where does it say justice should be denied. It is not ungodly to send a thief to jail.

Eva Vargas
Eva Vargas subscriber

Can you blame us for being ANGRY, JWStump? After all, she went to church too, she had a pastor for a father, if anyone should have known better it was she. I'm venting and thank you for the gentle castigation.

evavrgs
evavrgs

Can you blame us for being ANGRY, JWStump? After all, she went to church too, she had a pastor for a father, if anyone should have known better it was she. I'm venting and thank you for the gentle castigation.

Hank Chambers
Hank Chambers subscribermember

I hope that this Allard judge is up for reelection. I will remember this case. If someone steals a loaf of bread to feed their family, they would be in jail, but these two get nothing.

ProgressiveMD
ProgressiveMD

I hope that this Allard judge is up for reelection. I will remember this case. If someone steals a loaf of bread to feed their family, they would be in jail, but these two get nothing.

Jay Rogers
Jay Rogers subscriber

They both new what they were doing when they were embezzling funds, and they both knew what they were doing was wrong. They anticipated getting away with their actions and not getting caught - they anticipated wrong. Now they want to get a "slap on the wrist" and pay $100 a month until they pay off their fine and also do community service. That all sounds fine with me, but after they do jail time first. They were essentially stealing taxpayer money - they are thieves, nothing more. They need to go to jail.

elviswiggle
elviswiggle

They both new what they were doing when they were embezzling funds, and they both knew what they were doing was wrong. They anticipated getting away with their actions and not getting caught - they anticipated wrong. Now they want to get a "slap on the wrist" and pay $100 a month until they pay off their fine and also do community service. That all sounds fine with me, but after they do jail time first. They were essentially stealing taxpayer money - they are thieves, nothing more. They need to go to jail.

Jim Dodd
Jim Dodd subscriber

Can you dig into why no conspiracy charges?...thanks...

JimDodd
JimDodd

Can you dig into why no conspiracy charges?...thanks...

susanf
susanf subscribermember

guess i'll have to put it down to the strangeness of san diego.

susanf
susanf

guess i'll have to put it down to the strangeness of san diego.

Eva Vargas
Eva Vargas subscriber

Can SHE be tried federally? I said what I said previously, but I have second thoughts . . . I didn't think about the money. I am sure the prosecuters (what a joke) KNEW about the money she gained in interest over the years and since they committed she crime that money should be turned over as well. They made money on the money they stole that should have been included, but that would have taken more time. There must be federal charges that can be brought against them. After all where there's will, there's a way.

evavrgs
evavrgs

Can SHE be tried federally? I said what I said previously, but I have second thoughts . . . I didn't think about the money. I am sure the prosecuters (what a joke) KNEW about the money she gained in interest over the years and since they committed she crime that money should be turned over as well. They made money on the money they stole that should have been included, but that would have taken more time. There must be federal charges that can be brought against them. After all where there's will, there's a way.

John Pilch
John Pilch subscriber

Ludicrous doesn't begin to describe this fiasco, at the hands of a judge, hopefully former judge, Edward Allard III, who doesn't deserve to be re-elected. His sentence was a slap in the face to all citizens of the City of San Diego, who's funds were grabbed and mis-used by two greedy officers of the SEDC. Apologies be damned - they both deserve prison time and a 10-year time frame in which to repay the funds the took from all citizens of the City. This is pure, adulterated rubbish. Just when a person had faith in the juducial system, a judge abuses his authority as an officer of the court and shows us that crime can pay, depending on who you know. SOS - DD!

John in SC
John in SC

Ludicrous doesn't begin to describe this fiasco, at the hands of a judge, hopefully former judge, Edward Allard III, who doesn't deserve to be re-elected. His sentence was a slap in the face to all citizens of the City of San Diego, who's funds were grabbed and mis-used by two greedy officers of the SEDC. Apologies be damned - they both deserve prison time and a 10-year time frame in which to repay the funds the took from all citizens of the City. This is pure, adulterated rubbish. Just when a person had faith in the juducial system, a judge abuses his authority as an officer of the court and shows us that crime can pay, depending on who you know. SOS - DD!

Larry Kitts
Larry Kitts subscriber

How much did it cost to try these criminals??? This is an absolute JOKE... I agree with Paradox ... this judge should have some repercussions I will be filing a complaint against Judge ALLARD..

sandyeggo
sandyeggo

How much did it cost to try these criminals??? This is an absolute JOKE... I agree with Paradox ... this judge should have some repercussions I will be filing a complaint against Judge ALLARD..

David Rogers
David Rogers subscribermember

Since the courts seem unwilling to keep them clean, we're fortunate to be getting rid of "redevelopment" agencies. Their sole (legal) function was to avoid political accountability, anyhow.

DCRogers
DCRogers

Since the courts seem unwilling to keep them clean, we're fortunate to be getting rid of "redevelopment" agencies. Their sole (legal) function was to avoid political accountability, anyhow.

Gregory Hay
Gregory Hay subscriber

The point of criminal punishment is NOT "restitution"… it is to punish so others in the future will be dissuaded from trying the same thing.

haydesigner
haydesigner

The point of criminal punishment is NOT "restitution"… it is to punish so others in the future will be dissuaded from trying the same thing.

David Houser
David Houser subscriber

JUDGE ALLARD 111 is guilty of upholding his Constitutional oath and must be impeached from the bench. Simply file a complaint against him for an investigation into his impeachment with your House of Representative. Allard is more dangerous to society than the criminals in this case. VOSD please realize your 5 year investigation is not down the tubes as it can be used to clean up the Courtroom and clear the road for a future with justice. I myself am tempted to do this, but am up in Long Beach.

PARADOXPSYCHE
PARADOXPSYCHE

JUDGE ALLARD 111 is guilty of upholding his Constitutional oath and must be impeached from the bench. Simply file a complaint against him for an investigation into his impeachment with your House of Representative. Allard is more dangerous to society than the criminals in this case. VOSD please realize your 5 year investigation is not down the tubes as it can be used to clean up the Courtroom and clear the road for a future with justice. I myself am tempted to do this, but am up in Long Beach.

Janet Shelton
Janet Shelton subscriber

The moral of the story (same as the national moral) is that small time criminals will go to jail and big time ones will be rewarded. Make it white collar crime and GO LARGE! Don't knock off a bank for a $1,000. Rob taxpayers of millions.

myearth
myearth

The moral of the story (same as the national moral) is that small time criminals will go to jail and big time ones will be rewarded. Make it white collar crime and GO LARGE! Don't knock off a bank for a $1,000. Rob taxpayers of millions.

Paula Miranda
Paula Miranda subscriber

So, it looks like these folks have about 20 working years left, if not less, about 240 months x $100 = $24,000 of the $435,018.36 total amount of restitution, about 5.5%. For lack of a better phrase, this sucks, especially now that there will no longer be redevelopment funds coming from the state. This is a region of San Diego that could have benefited from the funds these criminals embezzled. Glad to know they were caught and held accountable but this sentence hardly seems like justice.

pauisanoun
pauisanoun

So, it looks like these folks have about 20 working years left, if not less, about 240 months x $100 = $24,000 of the $435,018.36 total amount of restitution, about 5.5%. For lack of a better phrase, this sucks, especially now that there will no longer be redevelopment funds coming from the state. This is a region of San Diego that could have benefited from the funds these criminals embezzled. Glad to know they were caught and held accountable but this sentence hardly seems like justice.

Jim Neri
Jim Neri subscribermember

no one else would get those terms - kinda makes you wonder who and what they know about who and what...

Jimmer
Jimmer

no one else would get those terms - kinda makes you wonder who and what they know about who and what...

Mark Giffin
Mark Giffin subscribermember

BTW....who is "others" and do they pay anything?

mgland
mgland

BTW....who is "others" and do they pay anything?

Eva Vargas
Eva Vargas subscriber

I know this woman she worked as president of SEDC in my neighborhood and she gave us a HARD time. Although I would not have wished this on her, I am happy that she was faced with her character defaults. Her upbringing was not what she ended up doing. She was privileged and I suppose she thought this entitled her to anything her heart desired. I was saddened because she didn't receive jail time, because I thought that she really could have given back to those women who needed it, but she received what she received. Good, Carolyn, that your going to get treatment you still have any opportunity to give most abundantly. Good Luck!

evavrgs
evavrgs

I know this woman she worked as president of SEDC in my neighborhood and she gave us a HARD time. Although I would not have wished this on her, I am happy that she was faced with her character defaults. Her upbringing was not what she ended up doing. She was privileged and I suppose she thought this entitled her to anything her heart desired. I was saddened because she didn't receive jail time, because I thought that she really could have given back to those women who needed it, but she received what she received. Good, Carolyn, that your going to get treatment you still have any opportunity to give most abundantly. Good Luck!

Will Dawson
Will Dawson subscriber

If this had been a regular citizen they would be behind bars for 10 years minimum.

Sandawg
Sandawg

If this had been a regular citizen they would be behind bars for 10 years minimum.

Amada L Escandon-O'Rourke
Amada L Escandon-O'Rourke subscriber

The former redevelopment leaders, who had pleaded guilty to one count apiece of embezzling public funds,

amadaluz
amadaluz

The former redevelopment leaders, who had pleaded guilty to one count apiece of embezzling public funds,

Richard Markuson
Richard Markuson subscriber

Sooo. Let's see here. They "funneled $1 million" (actually why didn't you use stole or embezzled?) and they an average of 300 hours of community service (accounting help perhaps for the aged or small business owners?) and will pay back $6,000 (unless you assume they will keep paying after their probation is up). Wow! Justice is served! But don't try stealing $100 from the corner liquor store!

rhm916
rhm916

Sooo. Let's see here. They "funneled $1 million" (actually why didn't you use stole or embezzled?) and they an average of 300 hours of community service (accounting help perhaps for the aged or small business owners?) and will pay back $6,000 (unless you assume they will keep paying after their probation is up). Wow! Justice is served! But don't try stealing $100 from the corner liquor store!

Edward Teyssier
Edward Teyssier subscriber

The $100 per month doesn't even pay the INTEREST on the million they stole! Furthermore, I'm wondering, but I bet I know the answer, they could discharge all of it in BK?

Edwardtlp
Edwardtlp

The $100 per month doesn't even pay the INTEREST on the million they stole! Furthermore, I'm wondering, but I bet I know the answer, they could discharge all of it in BK?

David King
David King subscriber

that's net of the money they are repaying...

David King
David King

that's net of the money they are repaying...