Sherry Gong pleads not guilty to embezzling money from student organization

July 23, 2019

Sherry Gong

The wife of San Luis Obispo County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong appeared in court Monday and pleaded not guilty to embezzling more than $32,000 from the booster club of the Atascadero High School band. [Cal Coast Times]

Sherry Gong, the former treasurer for the booster organization, faces three felony counts of grand theft by embezzlement. If convicted, Gong faces up to four years and four months in prison.

A criminal complaint filed by the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office alleges Gong took $3,104 out of an Atascadero High School Band and Pageantry Booster Club bank account on about July 5, 2017. Then on about April 24, 2018, Gong allegedly lifted $19,000 from a second booster club bank account. Later the same day, Gong allegedly took another $9,850 from another of the club’s accounts.

Gong’s attorney, Guy Galambos, released a statement saying his client admitted to taking funds from the booster club, though she “borrowed” the money to address a family emergency. Galambos’s account of the personal use of the booster club funds does not match the timeline of the embezzlement allegations in the criminal complaint.

“About a year ago (April 2018) Sherry Gong was subjected to a highly stressful family crisis. A close family member called her in a panic. He begged her for a large sum of money he needed within three days, declaring it was a matter of life or death, but he wouldn’t elaborate on the details,” Galambos’s statement says.

Galambos characterized the embezzled funds as borrowed money and as an emergency loan that Sherry Gong intended to repay but never did. Sherry Gong tried to recoup the money by borrowing from extended family members and selling some of her jewelry, her attorney said.

Gong admitted her actions in an interview with Atascadero police detectives and presented replacement funds in the form of a cashier’s check, Galambos said in the statement.

Tommy Gong, who attended Monday’s court hearing, did not learn of the embezzlement case until after the police interview, Galambos said. The county clerk-recorder is not implicated in the case, and he said in a statement he is standing by his wife’s side and supporting her.

Sherry Gong has posted $25,000 bail and is not currently in custody.


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Momma2Two

Those poor kiddos. They now have to live with facing their friends after all this, and we all know children of that age more likely to hear and or be a part of all the enraged parents discussions on this..


I feel for the kids, and I severely doubt Mr Gong hadnt a clue when, one day, somehow there was an extra amount of money from somewhere. Plain ignorant to believe her family had a “crisis” and she didn’t first go to her husband (family also right?) but instead chose to steal from her (and MANY other) children?


Russ J

Do we not pay the clerk-recorder enough $$$. Who can’t raise $32K real quick on a government salary? Maybe he needs a raise. Just say’n.


kayaknut

According to public records, Tommy Gong’s salary plus benefits is in the neighborhood of $250,000, that’s right a quarter of a million dollars………salary….


Mjd

Folks,


Sherry Gong pleads not guilty? OK, schedule the rial, honor the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, BUT THROW THE BOOK AT HER IF SHE IS CONVICTED.


Justice in SLO County is more like ‘Just Us’ for the well-to-do and well connected, and Sherry Gong DOES NOT deserve a slap-on-the-wrist sentence if she is found to have committed these embezzlement crimes, which she has previously admitted to.


Justice ultimately is a search for the truth.


Speak truth to power.


Cmonnow

She didn’t really take the money….. What??? I’m sorry but people in that economic position have options to acquire “emergency” cash quickly. I know because I too had a “family” situation and needed a large sum of money. Rather than swipe the loot from my son’s youth football league or high school booster club I chose to do a personal loan with a well known online company, at a decent interest rate, and had the money in a day or two. Probably about the same amount of time it took to send the money to her kin.

What if someone took her car to drive to New York for an undisclosed “family emergency” ? They were gonna bring it back so what’s the problem?

This is ridiculous and embarrassing.


copperhead

She doesn’t have money to “help her family member” but she’s got money for an attorney. Her proof of the crisis is probably one of those spam emails that I get everyday to wire money to some foreign country where my grandson has been incarcerated.


sbjcl

She has no worries as long as she gets the same Judge that Petetit I mean Wright had.