Las Vegas Sun

December 21, 2014

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Company loses appeal in embezzlement case

CARSON CITY — A federal appeals court has ruled a Las Vegas company cannot force the government to initiate criminal forfeiture proceedings to recover money lost in a $3.8 million embezzlement case.

Deborah A. DiFrancesco was sentenced earlier this month to five years in prison and was ordered to repay $3.8 million to those who lost money and $1.1 million to the Internal Revenue Service.

Stake Center Locating Inc. maintains it lost $763,846 and filed suit to force the government to bring criminal forfeiture proceedings to obtain assets traceable to DiFrancesco’s crimes.

In upholding the decision of District Court Judge James Mahan, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said the law “gives victims a right to restitution, not a right to criminal forfeiture.”

The court said Mahan did not make an error “in declining to order the U.S. Attorney’s Office to commence criminal forfeiture proceedings against the Internal Revenue Service and other non-parties alleged to possess assets implicated in DiFrancesco’s criminal activities.”

DiFrancesco worked for Lakes Payroll Inc., a payroll services agency.

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