The man who easily bilked the city out of millions of dollars during a decade-long embezzlement scheme was sentenced Friday to hard time in state prison.
Danny Ray Wooten, a former analyst with the Pasadena Public Works Department, was sentenced to a 14-year term behind bars.
Tyrone Collins, a local contractor, was sentenced to seven years in prison for his part in the ongoing theft of just less than $4.6 million over nearly 11 years.
Wooten was ordered to pay the city $3,695,891 in restitution and Collins was ordered to pay $900,000, according to a statement issued by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.
In November, Wooten was found guilty of 53 counts that included embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds. Collins was convicted of 20 counts of those and other related crimes.
Although it was publicly revealed in late December 2014 that $6.4 million was missing from city coffers, prosecutors could only connect just under $4.6 million to the theft.
Wooten was a management analyst with the Public Works Department, which was in charge of placing underground all of the city’s utility lines. Between 2004 and 2014, Wooten created false invoices for the project. The theft was made possible in part due to errors made by city employees who signed off on invoices and gave them back to Wooten to turn in instead of doing it themselves. After getting the appropriate signatures, Wooten would then add extra numbers to the invoices.
The 55-year-old Wooten, a minister, created fake bank accounts for two churches, but he was the only person on those accounts, according to Deputy District Attorney Bjorn Dodd, who prosecuted the case.
Dodd said Wooten funneled some of the stolen funds to Collins, owner of Collins Electric in Altadena.
The scheme began to unravel in 2014 when a City Council committee began questioning the accounting in the program Wooten worked in.
In the end, city insurers restored $5.4 million, $1 million less than a city audit revealed was missing.