Former CASA Director Pleads Guilty to Four Felony Charges, Receives Three Years

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Yolo-Count-Court-Room-600Claudean Medlock on Wednesday pled guilty to four felony counts, for embezzling over 40,000 from the Yolo County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).  She was sentenced by Judge Timothy Fall to three years and eight months in prison.

Ms. Medlock faced up to 18 felony counts and 12 years in prison for her actions as the executive director of CASA.  She also faced 22 felony counts in Placer County for similar crimes, but those charges will be dropped in light of the plea agreement in Yolo.

On Wednesday, they added an 18th count to the complaint, based on her forgery of a Yolo County Judge’s signature.  That is one of the four counts she pled to.

She received three years for the first count, misappropriation of public funds – the use of the CASA company credit card for personal use at a casino.  She also pled to counts 8 and 9, which were forgery charges, based on the use of the card in a fraudulent manner and forgery of board members names on the checks. 

For the 8th and 9th counts, Ms. Medlock received two two-year terms to be served concurrently with the 1st count’s three-year term.  She then received an additional 8 months in prison for forging a Judge’s signature, totaling to the aggragate three-year and 8 month sentence, of which she will serve about half.

Judge Fall also ordered her to pay full restitution of $46,568.01.

Mila Spengler, the President of CASA’s board of directors, issued a statement saying, “Since the day we became aware of Ms. Medlock’s criminal activity in our organization, the Yolo CASA board of directors remained focused on three goals.”

Those goals, she said, included, “Maintain uninterrupted service to the youth we serve,” “Make certain this never happens to Yolo CASA again,” and “Prevent Ms. Medlock from perpetrating similar crimes on others.”

“We believe today’s outcome supports those goals and the best interest of the Yolo County foster youth we serve,” she stated.

Deputy Public Defender Monica Brushia told the Vanguard on Wednesday afternoon that this was “ultimately a fair resolution.”

She said that the 22-count complaint was not filed in Placer County, based on her plea.

She also noted that the restitution was a lot of money, but she believed there were a “lot of mitigating circumstances for her.”

Ultimately, Ms. Brushia said, “She wanted a resolution.  She is happy it is finally resolved.  She wanted it resolved a long time ago.”

She noted that she had faced up to 12 years with the 18 felony counts.  Now she has a 3-year 8-month sentence and will likely serve half of the time.

Judge Fall allowed two members of the Board to read impact statements.

Diana Glick, who has been affiliated with CASA for almost 12 years now said, “The people you don’t see here today are the children we serve. These foster youth are the true victims of Ms. Medlock’s crimes, as she has threatened the viability of our organization and our ability to continue to provide mentoring and advocacy services to at-risk youth in this community.”

She noted, “Ms. Medlock came to our organization, unbeknownst to us, with a felony conviction for embezzlement. During the 12 months of her employment with CASA, she stole from the organization, forged our names on checks, falsified organizational documents and went so far as to pretend to be a CASA herself.”

“She thoroughly violated the law and she also violated the sacred trust that exists between CASA volunteers and their assigned children. She has demonstrated repeatedly that she has no regard for the laws that bind the rest of us and that probation for her prior offenses was not enough to deter her from committing future crimes,” Ms. Glick read to the Judge.  “Therefore, we are grateful to the court for imposing the maximum sentence allowable under the plea deal.”

Mary Patricia Whelan-Miille also read a statement to the court.

“Ms. Medlock took an oath in this very courthouse to advocate for and act in the best interests of CASA children—she broke that oath,” she read.  “She committed crimes that hurt the very children she swore an oath to advocate for. She stole money and did damage to an organization whose sole purpose is to support the most vulnerable children of our community—our foster youth.”

“Your honor, these are foster children…they have already been neglected or abused.  Her crimes just added to that abuse,” she said. 

Ms. Medlock had originally pled to a no-state-prison term. However, under pressure from the CASA board and volunteers, Deputy DA Michelle Serafin filed a motion with the Court to reject the no contest plea entered by the defendant on October 14, 2010, arguing that the plea offer “was based on the belief that the defendant had only one prior arrest that resulted in a misdemeanor embezzlement conviction in Sacramento County.”

Instead she claimed, “The People have since learned that the defendant was actually convicted of a felony embezzlement charge in Sacramento.”

“The People no longer believe that the defendant is amenable to probation. Her felony probation grant in Sacramento County did nothing to deter her from continuing the same criminal activity for which she was on felony probation. The defendant was embezzling money from Yolo County CASA before being placed on felony probation in Sacramento and she continued to embezzle money for 8 months, stopping only when she was caught,” the motion argues.

It is clear that the board of CASA was pleased with the disposition in this case.  We will note that, while we opposed rescinding the plea agreement, we do believe both the original sentence and the current sentence are too lenient, based on the facts in this case.

Ms. Medlock faced at least 12 years in prison for her 18 counts in Yolo, and probably at least that much in Placer County.  She has gotten off far more leniently than most in this county who have done far less to harm innocent victims. 

Unfortunately, it appears that the DA’s office is far softer on white collar crimes than it is on other crimes.  We see that, both with Ms.Jennifer Beeman who committed similar crimes at UC Davis, and now with Medlock.

We are glad it is resolved, we are glad that CASA will perhaps get their money back and can continue to do the great work that they do in this community, but we should not forget how we got here and the missteps along the way.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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14 thoughts on “Former CASA Director Pleads Guilty to Four Felony Charges, Receives Three Years”

  1. David M. Greenwald

    I received a note from a board member with an important clarification. The organization is actually insured and have already recovered that money from the insurance company. So the restitution goes to reimburse the insurance company rather than CASA.

  2. Tecnichick

    This was the maximimum sentence under the plea agreement? For a combined 40 felonies in two counties? She got a heck of a deal! I also believe that her crimes fall within that new 35% rule. She could also possibly be released within a year if the prison reform goes through releasing non-violent offenders. The system we have in Yolo is crazy! I thought she would get a minimum of 10 years and serve at least 5. She probably wont ever work again so essentially she got paid over $46000 to spend a year in prison.

  3. David M. Greenwald

    The maximum sentence was 12 years for Yolo and probably more for Placer.

    I don’t understand her statement, because obviously it is not true, the judge could have imposed the sentences consecutively.

  4. Mr Obvious

    The is part of the broken system, how can we expect this lady to pay back the 46K. This is when she is most vulnerable. He life is in shambles, no job, going to prison. When she gets out her minimum wage job will be garnished, making it impossible for her to turn her life around.

  5. E Roberts Musser

    dmg: “She said that the 22-count complaint was not filed in Placer County, based on her plea.”

    What did this defendant do wrong in Placer County? Did you ever mention this part of the equation? Sorry if I missed it…

    dmg: “Ms. Medlock faced at least 12 years in prison for her 18 counts in Yolo, and probably at least that much in Placer County. She has gotten off far more leniently than most in this county who have done far less to harm innocent victims.
    Unfortunately, it appears that the DA’s office is far softer on white collar crimes than it is on other crimes. We see that, both with Ms.Jennifer Beeman who committed similar crimes at UC Davis, and now with Medlock.”

    I’m not following your logic here. You slam the DA for not making plea deals, then are critical when he does offer a plea deal. Furthermore, this defendant did not physically assault someone, that sort of thing, which would seem to make her a better candidate for a plea deal than some others you’ve championed who may pose more of a direct physical threat to life and limb/society. And it seems to me I remember that you were very critical of the DA for trying to rescind the ridiculously lenient plea agreement w this defendant, even tho it was clear the DA had been misled by a DOJ report/defendent that neglected to mention her prior felony conviction.

    As for the sentence, my concern is this woman was a two time felon as I understand it, and it looks like committed crimes in Placer County as well. Actually serving as little as 1 year and 9 months seems lenient to me – she should serve the full sentence – about 4 years.

    Phil Coleman makes an excellent point – ultimately it is the people who pay insurance premiums who will pay this restitution…

  6. Iyah

    ERM sometimes you sound like a broken record with your comments against the vanguard. DMG wrote: “We will note that, while we opposed rescinding the plea agreement, we do believe both the original sentence and the current sentence are too lenient, based on the facts in this case.”

    Obviously DMG makes no qualms about admitting his position and agrees with you that it is too lenient.

    I don’t know why the DA rescinded his original offer, perhaps it was public pressure, perhaps it was pressure from CASA. Just as I don’t know why Ms. Medlock with 2 strikes gets 3 years, 8 months for stealing thousands to gamble and the guy that wrote a bad check at the Nugget to feed his family got 5/7 years (he didn’t physically hurt anyone either). Maybe he isn’t as well connected. Nonetheless, at least the DA rescinded the offer and she is going to jail for her crimes.

  7. Tecnichick

    Something else to consider: People who commit welfare fraud and take far much less money than Ms Medlock are usually sentenced more severely. Welfare frauders are usually taking the money for necessities, food, shelter, etc and Ms Medlock was gambling. The entire system needs to be overhauled for sure.

  8. E Roberts Musser

    lyah: “Just as I don’t know why Ms. Medlock with 2 strikes gets 3 years, 8 months for stealing thousands to gamble and the guy that wrote a bad check at the Nugget to feed his family got 5/7 years (he didn’t physically hurt anyone either). Maybe he isn’t as well connected. Nonetheless, at least the DA rescinded the offer and she is going to jail for her crimes.”

    The cheese thief had two felony priors if I remember rightly. Don’t know what they were for, but as I remember it, this guy had a pretty long rap sheet. He was on his third strike. This woman was only on her second…

    lyah: “ERM sometimes you sound like a broken record with your comments against the vanguard.”

    My feeling is there is an agenda here, bc the positions taken are often internally inconsistent, as they are here.

  9. David M. Greenwald

    “My feeling is there is an agenda here, bc the positions taken are often internally inconsistent, as they are here.”

    I’m interested to know how so? I’ve argued that in general the DA’s office overcharges and tends to “throw the book” at criminals. Here is an example however of a white collar criminal who seems to be getting off very lightly in comparison to the severity of her crime versus the severity of punishments for a number of people who committed very minor crimes. Please explain the inconsistency so I can better understand your position.

  10. E Roberts Musser

    To dmg: To repeat myself: “I’m not following your logic here. You slam the DA for not making plea deals, then are critical when he does offer a plea deal. Furthermore, this defendant did not physically assault someone, that sort of thing, which would seem to make her a better candidate for a plea deal than some others you’ve championed who may pose more of a direct physical threat to life and limb/society. And it seems to me I remember that you were very critical of the DA for trying to rescind the ridiculously lenient plea agreement w this defendant, even tho it was clear the DA had been misled by a DOJ report/defendent that neglected to mention her prior felony conviction.”

  11. Iyah

    ERM: I wasn’t referring to the “cheese man” in my comparison. There was another poor bloke that wrote a bad check at the Nugget to feed his family. That’s who I was referring to.

    Nonetheless, regarding the “cheese man” many people have issue with prosecuting under the 3-strikes for something that amounted to a petty crime.

  12. Superfluous Man

    “She also faced 22 felony counts in Placer County for similar crimes, but those charges will be dropped in light of the plea agreement in Yolo.”

    Do you have any more information about the charges out of Placer? That’s a significant development in the story and has not been reported on before, to my knowledge.

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