Ex-Jazzercise employee sentenced in $1 million embezzlement

From San Diego Union-Tribune, “The former finance director of Jazzercise was sentenced Tuesday to more than seven years in prison for embezzling what authorities say was upwards of $1 million from the Carlsbad-based company and its owners, possibly to feed a gambling habit.

Sherri O. Potts — who spent nearly nine years as the corporate director of finance for the physical-fitness firm — was arrested in Carlsbad in October on 50 theft-related charges, including forgery, fraudulent appropriation and grand theft by an employee.

She pleaded guilty in March to one count of grand theft, three counts of forgery and one count of failing to report the stolen money on her tax returns. She also admitted that she stole more than $500,000.

According to court documents, authorities suspected much of the stolen money was siphoned from petty cash funds, an average of $10,000 a month, for a few years. The company uncovered the embezzlement in 2014, after Potts was let go.

Winn said Potts routinely arranged for an average of $12,000 a month to be delivered into the company’s petty cash fund. The company’s actual petty cash needs were really around only $2,000 a month.

Carlsbad police investigators found that, from 2007 to 2013, Potts deposited more than $900,000 in cash and non-payroll checks into her accounts.

The investigation also revealed that 48 forged checks — more than $150,000 — had been written from the personal accounts of Jazzercize owners Jack and Judi Sheppard Missett. The money went to pay for Pott’s personal expenses, including credit card payments.

The suspected thefts were uncovered after Potts was fired from Jazzercise, which boasts more than 7,800 instructors in 32 countries.”

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