Ex-cop admits he stole, gambled away $469K from his employer

Man sentenced to six months in jail, ordered to pay $309K in restitution


July 03--SANTA ANA -- A former police officer and attorney was sentenced Wednesday to six months in jail after he admitted to embezzling $469,000 from his employer and spending it on gambling, prosecutors said.

Wayne M. Fong, 51, of Tustin was also ordered to pay $309,000 in restitution. He pleaded guilty to seven counts of grand theft and five counts of money laundering, the Orange County District Attorney's Office said.

Fong, a former police officer in New York, was an attorney in California from 1992 until 2012, when he was disbarred by the California Supreme Court for the embezzlement.

He was a vice president for Fidelity National Title Group starting in 1999. From 2000 to 2010, Fong diverted company money into several accounts with fictitious business names, according to state bar records.

The District Attorney's Office said Fong signed an agreement with one vendor, Global Discoveries, and told the firm to send payment to a new account. He then transferred the money into his own account and spent it on gambling.

A vendor became suspicious about the change in payments and notified Fidelity, which filed suit against Fong in 2010. Irvine police arrested him in November 2012.

In a 2010 civil settlement, Fong paid $100,000 and agreed to pay an additional $400,000 over the next 30 years, state bar records show.

Fong started going to Gamblers Anonymous meetings in 2010 and developed a condition diagnosed as a "pathological gambling" disorder, according to the bar records. The records say he cooperated after he was caught.

The prosecutor had planned to seek a state prison sentence, and Fong could have faced more than 13 years behind bars, the District Attorney's Office said.

But his lawyer, Edward Flores, said he pleaded guilty to all charges after Superior Court Judge Robert Fitzgerald offered the six-month sentence. Fong also will be on probation for five years.

Flores said Fong is "remorseful for his actions."

Contact the writer: 949-229-5950 or ehartley@ocregister.com

 

 

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