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Embezzlement Yields 15 Months Incarceration

As a payroll clerk for a Chantilly company, Shawn Richard Weneta of Sterling activated employee accounts for payroll and administered company benefits.

But after he gave himself some $16,266 in extra benefits, company officials got wise to him and contacted Fairfax County police. He was then arrested and charged with one count each of embezzlement and forgery.

In her Aug. 6 affidavit for a search warrant to seek evidence of these crimes in Weneta's account at Chevy Chase Bank on Stone Road in Centreville, police officer E.R. Goldman of the Fair Oaks District Station detailed the case against him.

From March 16 to June 29, Weneta, 25, of 22019 Guilford Station Terrace, was employed at Intersections Incorporated at 14930 Bogel Drive in Chantilly. In June, company officials noticed a discrepancy in payroll.

"An audit showed that, between May 18, 2001 and June 29, 2001, approximately 15 checks, totaling about $16,266 were issued fraudulently, in the names of former employees," wrote Goldman. "At least five of the checks were deposited to [a particular] Chevy Chase account number. Company records show Shawn R. Weneta's regular payroll checks are direct-deposited to his Chevy Chase account [with the same number]."

According to Goldman, when company officials confronted Weneta with this situation, he allegedly turned in five other checks — issued fraudulently in the name of former employees — that had not yet been deposited or cashed.

The officer then obtained permission to examine Weneta's bank account at Chevy Chase's branch on Stone Road. On Aug. 6, she seized from his account his student banking application, a statement from February to June, information about all items deposited to that account, plus all the money in it — $1,019. Police arrested Weneta that same day.

The forgery charge was eventually dropped but, on Nov. 19, the grand jury indicted Weneta for embezzlement. On Jan. 15 in Circuit Court, he pleaded guilty before Judge Stanley Klein. He returned Friday and, at that time, Klein sentenced him to five years in prison, suspending all but 15 months. He also placed Weneta on four years active probation and ordered him to make full restitution.