Atascadero woman slapped with more than 10 years in prison for embezzlement

March 17, 2021

Joy Noel Wilde

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

An Atascadero woman who embezzled nearly $900,000 from a Creston construction company was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years and four months in state prison.

Over a period of more than three years, Joy Noel Wilde, 43, stole $877,123 from her former employer, Greg Wiemann Construction, according to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office. Wilde’s scheme involved passing 64 fraudulent checks and attempting to pass three others. Wilde was working as a bookkeeper and office manager for the construction company during the time the theft occurred.

An investigation into Wilde’s activities began on July 9, 2019, when Gregg Wiemann told the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office that his bookkeeper embezzled more than $47,000. Wilde reportedly took a check made out to a vendor for the construction company, altered the check and then deposited it in her personal bank account.

Over the course of the three-month investigation, deputies discovered numerous other company checks that Wilde deposited in her personal accounts.

Deputies arrested Wilde in 2019. In February, Wilde pleaded no contest to 18 counts of embezzlement, two counts of forgery and one count of attempted embezzlement.

Judge Jesse Marino concluded a decade-long prison sentence, which is unusually long for for an embezzlement case, was justified because of the “outrageously large amount of money” Wilde stole. Marino recognized Wiemann had placed a great deal of trust in Wilde and that Wilde’s deceit was the most difficult aspect of the case for the business owner.

Wiemann was present during the sentencing hearing and recounted the significant impact of Wilde’s theft.

Following sentencing, District Attorney Dan Dow released a statement discussing the impact of embezzlement on businesses.

“Embezzlement crimes are significant at several levels,” 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. It frequently happens at the hands of someone you have come to know, trust and with whom you have developed a strong relationship. This office takes these cases seriously and will continue to prosecute them aggressively.”


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ClayBertram

Wait a minute… How many felony cases did DD prosecute before he became the DA? How does anyone take this political hack seriously?


NorthCountyLady

There have been so many high profile embezzlement cases in the past few years that have been mind boggling. Sherry Gong, wife of our elected County Clerk-Recorder stealing from Atascadero High School Band Booster Club, Claire Eastin, Life Community Church’s beloved secretary, stealing tithe money from her brothers and sisters in Christ, now this woman stealing nearly a million dollars from someone one who gave her a job and befriended her. All sentenced to serve time in county jail or state prison. Once again our justice system punishes the taxpayer. These sociopaths driven by greed should have to work (in a job where they can’t steal anything) for as long as necessary to pay restitution to their victims. Except of course Sherry Gong who has rich relatives she could borrow the money from, pay restitution and only serve 90 days or less. How is it justice that this woman now gets free room, board, and healthcare?


Adam Trask

Yes, right, free room, board and healthcare (which she will get from Medical which is open to anyone without income)….in a prison, locked up behind bars for 10 long years. Gee, what a bargain!


What’s your solution? Whipping, or maybe a hand chopped off—all penalties in Arab nations? She made a mistake and will pay for it by spending time incarcerated. It ain’t no picnic. I hope you don’t have any children or animals.


IDBOUND

She’ll be back on the streets in less than 3 years at a transitional/halfway house.She will do 13 months max on parole …The company she ripped off will never ever get a dime from her….if she gets paid while in prison for a prison job or has money sent in for her commissary 50% of it will be confiscated ….but by the time the state and county take their processing fees there will be very little money that reaches her victims if any at all


Adam Trask

No, she’ll do at least 80% of this time. While I feel bad for the victims, they are certainly idiots not to have strict audits of their financials—never trust anyone when it comes to money.


paragon

Hang on, where in the article does it say the company won’t get a dime back from her? She deposited that $877k into her personal accounts. I’m sure she spent some of it, but money doesn’t just “disappear”, it can be clawed back in many ways by the justice system, believe me! Sure, the business won’t get all of it back, but I bet a lot of it will get recovered and returned to them. And all of her future wages will be garnished from now until eternity. You don’t just get to walk away and not pay back a dime.


Jon Tatro

I might hire her to cook meth but seriously a bookkeeper, come on.


JThomas

Mr. Dan Dow said “This office takes these cases seriously and will continue to prosecute them aggressively.” Message to, Mr. Dow YOUR job is to take all cases seriously, its what you’re paid for!


commonsenseguy

I wonder if she’s related to Kelly Gearhart? They were both led by greed. Remember what it is says in the Word, money isn’t evil, but the love of it is.


horse_soldier

Good. In comparison, how much time did the Mankins woman get?


nunsense

the mistake is she worked for private enterprise. had she worked in the public sector, it would have been paid administrative leave and retire with her pension.


Adam Trask

Well, pretty sure you’re wrong on this one. The penalties are the same once you get into court under a certain jurisdiction. I believe federal crimes may actually prescribe a longer sentence for that much money.


You might watch for what happens to Ed Torres in Santa Maria. He was retired LEO who embezzled $600,000 from the cops’ union. He faces an aggravated white collar crime enhancement which could land him in jail for 10-20.


As for pensions, I doubt this lady had one, considering she worked for private industry. If she had been a government employee, however, she would certainly be entitled to whatever she had accrued once she reaches retirement age.


As it is, she won’t have any money and once 10 years are up she’ll go on the government dole or eke out some existence as a minimum wage worker. I wonder it it was worth it for her?


nunsense

hopefully she invested it well.

what happened to the folks selling county equipment (I think it was), and it seems to me there was someone else who embezzled funds and of course the wife of Tommy Gong? as i recall, not much.


Adam Trask

Gong’s wife embezzled $32k, a piker compared to this gal. Gong also paid back the entire amount. Gong got six months in county jail for her offense—seems right. I believe 10 years is a bit punitive, but Wilde will probably get out early if she behaves herself.


shelworth

Does this bother anyone else, 10 years for a non-violent crime when Chris Olcott (https://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/crime/article235225177.html) got 15 DAYS in a pay to play jail and 15 days home detention for beating random people? Seems to me this lady should be given a couple of years and a massive fine.


horse_soldier

Plain, pure and simple…there’s a different set of rules for government elites.


Adam Trask

I agree.


derasmus

Ditto that


LeroyMoo

For 64 checks forged, 10 years seems appropriate to me for a huge financial wound that will never be healed. The check forger worked on her premediated theft for months and maybe years. She will never pay back any money and think about it, how long would it take you to repay $900k? Two weeks and maybe even two years in jail is not going to stop her lifelong entitlement behavior.

Conversely, a drunk bar bully is a spontaneous act where the punched people can heal from cuts and bruises in two weeks and are maybe out $1500 for a hospital ER visit. His employment is toast as well.