Sherry Gong sentenced to six months in SLO County Jail

October 2, 2019

Sherry Gong

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

A San Luis Obispo judge sentenced Sherry Gong, the wife of SLO County Clerk-Recorder Tommy Gong, on Wednesday to about six months in jail for embezzling more than $32,000 from the booster club of the Atascadero High School band.

Judge Jacquelyn Duffy also sentenced Sherry Gong to three years of probation and ordered her to not serve as a volunteer or in a position involving financial management. Duffy rejected a motion filed by Gong’s attorney to reduce her convictions from felonies to misdemeanors.

In a surprise move in August, Gong pleaded guilty to three felony counts of grand theft by embezzlement. Gong, who initially pleaded not guilty, changed her plea without reaching any agreement with prosecutors.

Before Gong entered her guilty plea, Duffy indicated she would grant probation but made no promise of how much jail time she would order Gong to serve. A defendant placed on probation for felony grand theft by embezzlement convictions can be required to serve a maximum of one year in county jail as a condition of probation.

If Gong violates her probation, she could be sentenced to state prison for the remainder of the maximum allowable sentence, which in Gong’s case, is four years and four months.

During Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, Gong said, “I feel sorry.” Gong had tears in her eyes as she made the remark. [KSBY]

A member of the Atascadero High band booster club read a statement saying Gong’s embezzlement of funds destroyed the financial security of the organization.

The criminal complaint filed by the district attorney’s office alleged 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, previously said in a statement 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 booster club funds did not match the time of the embezzlement allegations in the criminal complaint.

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.

Tommy Gong, who has supported his wife amid court proceedings, did not learn of the embezzlement case until after his wife’s interview with Atascadero police, Galambos said. Tommy Gong was never implicated in the case.

Sherry Gong is scheduled to report to jail on Dec. 2.


Loading...

19
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
horse_soldier

Why plead guilty to felonies and then ask for them to be reduced? Is that SOP?

I’m glad the judge saw through her shady 2+2=5 story.


DocT

This woman committed a crime. Period.


But she does NOT belong in jail. She should pay back every penny plus perhaps 40-50% more than she stole. Financial restitution is the correct remedy for financial theft/embezzlement.


People should not be put in prison unless they are a danger to the community.


She is not a physical threat to anyone and never was.


Punishment isn’t designed to make pundits and observers feel good….In cases of non-violent crime, punishment should first and foremost mean restoring what was taken from the victims.


She stole money. Replace the money and more. Carry a felony record, never get hired at any job that involves money ever again…..that’s the correct sentence.


Wasting time in jail does nothing to help the boosters, nothing to protect the community and only costs money that need not be spent! Leave her bed open for a rapist, or an aggravated assault criminal, or someone abusing children.


Not this. I know a lot of folks relish the idea of punishing people, but with this sort of crime, punishment doesn’t really help the victims at all. It does cost taxpayers, however.


Stunned

You don’t relish the idea of punishing a thief whole stole money from a kids group? I hope she gets to be away from her family the entire 180 days. It’ll never happen but, she deserves to be punished as a thief and nothing less.


DocT

Punished as a thief? I’m 100% in favor of that.


Thieves steal. She should return what she stole, and the punishment should be she repays extra from what she stole.


The victims here are not the state, but the school boosters. How does “doing time” help her victims? Answer: it doesn’t.


But paying back in full plus 50% and having a felony record? That not only makes it right with the victims, but she also carries that conviction with her forever.


I don’t see how prison/jail helps anyone in this situation. But then I don’t get any joy from other’s hardship, so the punishment thing doesn’t work for me.


Violent crime is a very different story! A person convicted of a violent crime needs locked up.


mercut1469

I totally agree with DocT. She should not see jail time. Let’s reserve jails for the truly violent and incorrigible. Considering her background, she’s probably already feeling a great deal of guilt and shame over this.


According to both this story and the one released by the Tribune, she has already repaid the money. Maybe some amount of restitution should be required as well, along with the stipulations the judge has already put on her about not being in charge of any publicly funded money.


She will also have to carry the felon label for the rest of her life, just as the judge decided—strongly doubt, considering the amount of the theft, that she will ever be able to shed the felony conviction. Being a felon automatically closes many doors to Ms. Gong and that should probably be punishment enough.

I applaud Judge Duffy for a common sense approach to sentencing. Gong is a first time criminal who did something reprehensible, but not threatening. She got what she deserved.


Wildrnes

Doc T, valid points. And why spend $42,000 plus to house someone who embezzled $42,000? Yes, save the bed for real menaces to society, not desperate housewives without a ciminal record


Mjd

Folks,


Recall Superior Court Judge Jacquelyn Duffy, she is weak-on-crime.


Instead of using the law to punish Sherry Gong, Superior Court Judge Jacquelyn Duffy has now sentenced Sherry Gong to serve only 90 days for stealing $32,000 dollars.


When will SLO County judges quit sweetheart justice to the wealthy and well-connected? Sherry Gong is the wife of liberal SLO County Recorder Tommy Gong, and she pled guilty to this felony behavior, making her subject to a 4year, 4 month sentence.


Sherry Gong ought to be sent to state prison for four years, not given a 90 day slap on the wrist.


Just sayin’


mesaman1651

Another commentary on the sad state of of our justice system.


NorthCountyLady

Very curious to know what Claire Eastin’s sentence will be. She stole $200,000.00 (at the very least) from a church (churches?). MySticOne, would this also be a class B felony? Does anyone else find it disturbing that Life Community Church of Templeton took 6 months to report a $200,000.00 theft to police? The Atascadero High School non profits reported Mrs. Gong’s theft as soon as it was discovered, which is something any reasonable organization or person would do. Stealing from God and children!! What is wrong with these women?


JB Bronson

Not defending her sentence. At least she will do some time. Micheal Blank was allowed to retire, did not face charges, and rendered CRLA impotent for the future.


shelworth

Is she going to the Pay to Stay Jail? or a real one?


Boldguy

Her actual jail conditions would make a great follow up article by Cal Coast News!

I too want to know if she spends her sentence in the same manner as the SLO building inspector.


Rambunctious

Feather treatment for criminal swampers….


kayaknut

Special treatment for the protected class once again. Does she at least have to pay back the money she stole, with interest and penalties?, probably not.


Stunned

Curious to know what a “normal” sentence would look like in your eyes. I don’t have any point of reference on this.


kayaknut

Since she could have gotten 52 months I believe, something around 75% of that seems a good place to start, 39 months, with a must serve of 90% before early release, not a special deal of 6 months. Which we all know will be reduced to maybe 2 months and after that again she will ask for the felony charges to be dropped.


Stunned

I see, thanks. I tend to agree with you. Just under 4 years wouldn’t be out of the question in my mind PLUS complete restitution.


Enjoyed my -15 ranking “just for asking”! lol


MysticOne

According to a quick google search:


Class B felony. The value of the property is $25,000 or more. Penalties include a fine of up to $15,000, between five and 20 years in prison, or both. Embezzlement of property worth less than $950 is a misdemeanor, subjecting a defendant to a possible jail sentence of six months or less, and a fine of up to $1,000.