Second ex-official sentenced in JCC theft
Published - 09/15/15 - 07:02 AM | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A second embezzler at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center was sentenced Sept. 11 to one year in prison, the same sentence handed down to the charity’s former chief financial officer on Aug. 28 for the same crime.



The La Jolla charity’s former accounts payable clerk, Tamara Azizov, 62, of San Diego, was ordered to repay the center nearly $155,000 by U.S. District Court Judge Barry Moskowitz.



Unlike Nancy Johnson, 59, of Escondido, the center's former CFO who has reimbursed the $412,289 – all that she stole – Azizov has not paid anything so far in restitution, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Galvin.

Azizov remains free on $20,000 bond and will surrender in November to start her term. Johnson also remains free on $20,000 bond and will surrender Oct. 9.

Azizov worked for the center for 25 years and had access to the charity’s bank accounts, credit card accounts and bookkeeping records. Johnson was her boss, but neither knew the other one was stealing money, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.



Azizov spent center funds for herself on Tom Ford sunglasses, Simon Perele lingerie and designer clothing from Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Anthropologie. She also purchased high-end beauty products and $1,820 for sushi at Zip Fusion, a Japanese restaurant.

The thefts by both women caused layoffs at the center as well as cuts in programs for the elderly, preschoolers and many others.

Azizov and Johnson pleaded guilty to interstate wire fraud and filing false tax returns in which they did not declare the stolen funds as income. Johnson was ordered to pay $115,441 to the IRS. Azizov was not ordered to pay the IRS.

The prosecutor said it was estimated that Azizov owes approximately $43,173 to the IRS but that the IRS will work with her in some type of payment plan.

The Jewish Community Center, located at 4126 Executive Drive, was founded in 1945 to celebrate the area's Jewish community with cultural, educational, social and recreational programs and services. Thousands attend the center's Jewish Film Festival and San Diego Jewish Book Fair each year.

– Neal Putnam

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