Former SJ community officials facing felony charges


April 19, 2012 6:13:27 PM PDT
Two former top officials from one of San Jose's oldest community agencies are facing felony grand theft charges.

The former CEO of the Mexican-American Community Services Agency Olivia Soza-Mendiola and former CFO Benjamin Tan were charged following a 2.5-year investigation. They are accused of illegally taking over $1 million from MACSA's employee retirement accounts to pay the agency's bills during a 5-year period. MACSA operates several youth centers in Santa Clara County.

The district attorney said it was a plain misuse of funds. "In the few months that the bank account showed a zero or a negative balance, money sufficient to make those retirement payments had been spent on less important things, such as office supplies, food, electronics," John Chase said.

If convicted, both the accused could face up to three years in jail and be ordered to pay back the employees' retirement accounts.