The former treasurer for Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s re-election committee was convicted this week for embezzling more than $300,000 from campaign funds and a business where he previously worked, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s office.
Jack Wenpo Wu, 46, of Newport Beach pleaded guilty Tuesday three felony counts of grand theft by embezzlement and 21 felony counts of forgery with several sentencing enhancements, according to a press release from the OCDA.
He faces a maximum sentence of four years and four months in state prison. Sentencing is scheduled for March 13.
Wu, a former political columnist for the Newport Beach Independent, Daily Pilot and Orange County Register, was appointed to serve on the city’s finance committee in early 2015. Wu stepped down a few months later after he was accused of stealing from Rohrabacher’s re-election campaign, where Wu worked as an unpaid volunteer treasurer.
While working for the committee, Wu was the custodian of records and ran the committee’s bank accounts, among other responsibilities. In May 2015, the campaign manager had the campaign’s debit card refused after trying to pay a bill and then discovered $170,000 missing from the bank account. It was later found that Wu took unauthorized funds from the committee account totaling over $238,000.
In 2008, Wu was employed by Russell Fischer Inc. as a controller with an annual salary of $70,000. In March 2012, Wu’s pay was reduced to $2,000 every two weeks. Between June 2012 and September 2013, Wu continued to receive payroll checks from RFI for his original salary and also collected the $2,000 every pay period.
Between July 2013 and August 2013, Wu also illegally issued additional RFI checks to his company, Wubell Services.
Wu took over $83,000 in unauthorized payments from RFI. In September 2013, RFI fired Wu after discovering the theft. Wu agreed to and made restitution payments and it was later discovered that he used some of the money taken from the campaign committee’s to repay restitution he owed RFI.