The sold signs have gone up in the District Attorney’s first attempt at using online auctions to help a crime victim get justice.
The SLO County D.A.’s Office announcement said the auction of items seized in an embezzlement case out of Atascadero netted $115,400 for the victim.
“The District Attorney’s Office,” the D.A.’s Office said in a news release, “secured the services of SLOCAL Estate Auctions, Inc., based in Morro Bay to auction jewelry, watches, sports memorabilia, designer shoes, handbags, artwork, and other items seized as evidence during the criminal investigation.”
It was the first time that the SLO D.A.’s Office has done an auction to help raise restitution for a victim. SLOCAL Estate Auctions is owned by Jen and Doug Little.
That case involved the arrest of Joy Noel Wilde, 44 of Atascadero for embezzling $870,000 over three years from her employer, Greg Wiemann Construction. Wilde was the bookkeeper and according to Wiemann’s court testimony, was like family to the family-owned business.
Wilde was convicted of numerous felonies and sentenced to 10 years in prison. “At the sentencing hearing,” the D.A. said, “San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Jesse Marino highlighted the ‘outrageously large amount of money’ taken by Ms. Wilde and concluded that the decade-long prison sentence was warranted ‘due to its sheer volume.’
Wilde was also ordered to pay $877,123 in restitution. After her sentencing, Wilde reportedly signed over her ill-gotten gains to the District Attorney to be sold and credited against her restitution order.
The victims were first allowed to keep whatever they wanted out of the luxury items she bought with their money. The items were appraised and the value of whatever they kept subtracted from Wilde’s restitution.
In what has to be an oddity for what is essentially a theft case, albeit an enormous theft case, is that Wilde kept sales receipts from many of the more expensive items she bought.
It should be noted that while she used stolen money to purchase the jewelry, watches, sports and rock ‘n’ roll collectibles, and high fashion items (mainly shoes), none of the stores that sold her the merchandise is being prosecuted.
District Attorney Dan Dow was pleased with the results of the sale. “Embezzlement crimes are significant at several levels,” D.A. Dow said. “In addition to the financial devastation that large scale thefts can wreak on a business, is the very personal impact realized when a long-term employee in a position of confidence violates that trust. The $115,540 in auction proceeds is a significant step to offset the substantial financial loss inflicted by Ms. Wilde.”
Ordinarily, when a criminal is ordered to pay restitution, they earn money while in prison that is collected by the State and eventually given to the victim. The D.A.’s Office is charged with keeping track of these orders and the payments.