Greatrex turns in $68,272 check, gets 180 days
by NEAL PUTNAM
Published - 01/31/19 - 08:00 AM | 3154 views | 0 0 comments | 75 75 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cindy Greatrex
Cindy Greatrex
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The attorney for Cindy Greatrex presented a check for $68,272 to a judge on Jan. 29, which is full payment for the amount unlawfully taken from the La Jolla Parks & Recreation, Inc. Board while Greatrex served as its president in 2017.

Greatrex, 52, was then sentenced to 180 days of home detention on terms of four years probation by San Diego Superior Court Judge Timothy Walsh.

Walsh told Greatrex, who pleaded guilty to grand theft, to report to a county center on March 15. Walsh said the home detention is not limited to her home, but includes other approved areas where Greatrex can spend time, such as an office for work with a GPS device.

"We're happy with the restitution, but the damage that has been done to the reputation of advisory boards will have repercussions for a long time," said Jill Peters, a member of the all-volunteer group, afterwards.

Donations to the board and other nonprofits are down as a result of the controversy, said members of the board in a victim impact statement that was read in court by Peters and member Patricia Miller.

The Greatrex case has changed policy for various non-profit recreation councils for the city of San Diego, said Peters and Miller. As a result, recreation councils have been stripped of "relevance" and authority in an attempt to make sure thefts like this do not happen again.

Peters said the board and city staffers "were forced to spend countless hours poring over every detail of every transaction only to discover that Ms. Greatrex had managed to, unquestionably, convert a large sum of money for her own personal use."

"Of even greater devastation was the fact that she fabricated a bizarre narrative in her efforts to explain the missing funds and cast aspersions on her fellow Board members and city staff," the statement read.

"She continues to show a blatant lack of remorse. Her pretense of innocence, the compartmentalization of her various realities, her deceit and betrayal of her community deserve condemnation and punishment," said Peters and Miller.

"We feel strongly that the sentence is inadequate and should include jail time," concluded the board statement.

Greatrex didn't say much at the sentencing, but testified for five hours in her preliminary hearing and contended that she spent her own money to pay for grant writing services and vendors. She said she paid various people in cash.

Greatrex's attorney, Michael Pancer, asked the judge to substitute the home detention with an order to perform 1,000 hours of community service with a deaf organization. Pancer said Greatrex and her partner were considering adoption of a deaf child.

"She would like to see some good out of this," said Pancer, who added that 1,000 hours of community service would exceed 180 days of home detention.

The suggestion seemed to anger the judge, who said, "I'm not going to fashion a sentence that might benefit her." Walsh said Greatrex could do volunteer work on her own time. 

Greatrex made only a brief statement in court, saying "I'm so sorry I hurt my family" with the case.

"She's sorry it affected her," said Walsh. "It's pure greed; it's manipulation."

"She went on a long time without being caught. She was in a position of trust," said the judge.

Pancer told the judge that Greatrex had "a lifetime of charitable work" in community organizations. "She's a good person," said Pancer.

The board's statement said Greatrex "demeaned board officers as incompetent in her calculated strategy to take over the finances of our non-profit, securing sole access to all financials." The statement said Greatrex "accused an innocent city staffer... and made unfounded accusations."

Deputy District Attorney Gina Darvas said Greatrex created "a level of false evidence" with deceit "over and over."

The La Jolla organization is one of the oldest in the state, having been founded more than 100 years ago.

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