UCD Official Cops Plea in Embezzlement Case, Faces Probation

Yolo-Count-Court-Room-600Close Relationship to the DA’s Office or a More General Double Standard For White Collar Crime in Yolo?

On Thursday, Jennifer Beeman, who had admitted to falsifying grant documents that exaggerated the reported number of UC Davis campus sexual assaults, pled no contest to two felony charges of embezzlement and falsifying accounts.

It is expected that she will face probation plus having to pay restitution of around $10,525, the amount she embezzled.

The DA’s Office explained their decision in a statement to the Sacramento Bee, by stating that she had no prior convictions.

Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Cabral told the Bee, “We believe it’s a fair and appropriate disposition based on the amount of loss.”

But is it fair and appropriate in a county where defendants who steal far less face years in prison?

Last summer, the DA cut a similar deal with Claudeen Medlock, the former executive director of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate).  She had embezzled over $40,000 from that organization.

Jennifer Beeman faced charges of embezzlement of public funds by a public official, misuse of funds by a public official, false accounting and fraudulently altering an account.

While it is true that Ms. Beeman had no prior criminal history, it looks like she had engaged in these activities for years.

Ms. Beeman was director of the Campus Violence Prevention Program for 16 years until December 2008, when she was placed on administrative leave. Beeman left university employment in June 2009.

In September 2009, UC Davis announced that Ms. Beeman had exaggerated the numbers of forcible sex offenses reported under the Clery Act in 2005, 2006 and 2007. UC Davis corrected those figures in 2009 and has taken steps to improve oversight of the collection of Clery Act statistics.

UC Davis’ Campus Violence Prevention Program provides victims of sexual assault, stalking and domestic violence the opportunity to divulge the crimes in confidence and connects them to health care and other support services, regardless of whether they choose to file a police report.

When Claudeen Medlock received a probation plea offer, CASA was incensed.  However, after meeting with the organization, the DA’s Office suddenly discovered that her previous conviction had been a felony rather than a misdemeanor.  The DA’s Office was allowed by Judge Fall to drop that plea, and now Ms. Medlock will face some prison time.

Raising further complications in this particular case are the close ties between the DA’s Office and Ms. Beeman.  It is not clear that the DA’s Office should have recused itself, but it is at least a matter for consideration.

The connections between Ms. Beeman and the Yolo County DA’s Office are not direct.  Instead, they rest between Ms. Beeman and other organizations and agencies, all of which work very closely with the DA’s Office.

One of the interesting connections was between Ms. Beeman and the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

CALCASA was one of the organizations hit for misuse of federal grant money last fall.

Inspector General Laura Chick, in a letter to Governor Schwarzenegger wrote, “One grant CalEMA [California Emergency Management Agency] has awarded [to CALCASA] provides critical training for rape crisis centers statewide to increase comprehensive services to all victims of sexual assault, especially unserved and underserved populations. Unfortunately, the sole recipient contracted to conduct this work, having spent a good deal of the $300,000 it was awarded, has woefully failed to achieve the promised results. Of the monies expended so far, nearly half were not used properly.”

“Significant objectives of the grant, including conducting training programs and creating and distributing valuable information, have not been achieved,” she continues.

Perhaps most serious is the improper expenditures of $48,532.  Wrote the Inspector General, “Despite the insignificant activities taken by CALCASA to meet the objectives of the grant, expenditures of $110,713 were claimed and reimbursed by CalEMA, through August 31, 2010.”

A full 44 percent of the costs claimed were improper.

Ms. Beeman worked with CALCASA in 2007 to secure a nearly $1 million federal grant – a grant which is now in question.

According to an October 2, 2007 release from the UC Davis News Service, “The three-year project, supported by a $999,369 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, aims to coordinate a model program to reduce the incidence of campus-based violence against women, including domestic and dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. The program will also focus on improving the quality of response when such incidents do occur.”

The grant was supposed to benefit all ten UC Campuses.

“With this grant, the University of California is taking a major step forward to reduce violence against women and improve assistance for those who are affected by it,” said UC Davis Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef at the time. “Together, we can enhance services throughout the UC system and beyond.”

That December, Chancellor Vanderhoef brought the new federal grant opportunity to the attention of his UC Chancellor colleagues, who strongly endorsed this collected effort to reduce the number of sexual assaults throughout the university system. Judy Sakaki, UCD’s Vice President for Student Affairs, encouraged discussions among her colleagues, and they expedited the gathering of information for the grant application, made through the Campus Violence Prevention Program at UC Davis.

“Again, the University of California is attempting to solve a serious societal problem,” Sakaki said. “The united efforts of our 10 campuses can make a dramatic difference.”

“We are looking forward to building upon and sharing the expertise we have gained through our long and productive collaboration with the federal Office on Violence Against Women,” said Jennifer Beeman, director of the violence prevention program at UC Davis since 1992 and the administrator of the new systemwide project. “We want to work with other campuses to create a model intervention within the State of California.”

On October 29, 2009, the Sacramento Bee reported, “As part of the federal grants that supported the violence prevention program, Beeman had been required to update the crime situation at UC Davis in twice-yearly reports.

“Her count of sexual assaults was lower than what the campus originally reported to the federal campus crime statistics clearinghouse, known as the Clery Act, but higher than the numbers UC Davis recently publicized as corrections.

“For example, the original Clery Act reports showed 69 forcible sex offenses at UC Davis in 2007. In correcting the figures earlier this month, the university pegged the actual number at 33. But progress reports on the violence prevention grant UC Davis filed to the Department of Justice in 2007 indicate 43 sexual assaults occurred.

“Similar discrepancies existed in reports from 2006 and 2005, according to The Bee’s review of more than 1,000 pages of grant documents.”

The 2007 grant was to bring CALCASA together with POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training), which trains law enforcement officers and agencies.

According to the 2007 release from UC Davis, “The project will collaborate with two major organizations. The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA), which represents more than two-thirds of the state’s 90 rape crisis centers, will bridge the project with rape crisis centers in communities surrounding campuses. The California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training will help develop and deliver specialized training for law enforcement agencies on campuses.”

“Sandy Ortman, director of special programs for CALCASA, said UC Davis and its violence prevention program are well positioned to lead the project because the campus program is well recognized and respected nationally. ‘UC Davis has the experience, the commitment to the issues — and a chancellor who understands the issues,’ Ortman said.”

It continued, “Ortman commended the UC system  for working to reduce the number of incidents against women and to encourage more to be reported — something that people can misread.”

“Increased reporting of incidents against women can actually be a good thing,” she said. “What it means is that you provide helpful, caring and appropriate services so women come forward. It speaks to the level of service being provided.”

Finally, it concluded, “In fact, reported incidences of violence against women at UC Davis have risen. The total number of sex offenses (forcible and non-forcible) reported at UC Davis increased from 33 in 2004 to 68 in 2006, according to the latest statistics prepared in compliance with the Clery Act.”

“Beeman and others attribute those higher reporting numbers to effective outreach programs and services that make it as comfortable as possible for victims to come forward.”

We now suspect otherwise.

The local rape crisis center at UC Davis is the Yolo County Sexual Assault Center, which happens to work closely with the DA’s Office and the Yolo County’s Multi-Disciplinary Iinterview Center.  The MDIC is sponsored in part by a grant under the DA’s budget.

“The Yolo County’s MDIC (Multi-Disciplinary Interview Center) is a collaborative of community agencies committed to protecting our children. It is through this partnership that Yolo County is able to deliver the best service to our community despite limited public resources. Our partners include: Yolo County District Attorney, Davis Police Department, UC Davis Police Department, Winters Police Department, Woodland Police Department, Yolo County Sheriff Department and Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center.”

All of these organizations are interrelated and work together.  The DA’s sexual assault unit, which is heavily grant-funded, works very closely with victim advocates for the District Attorney’s Office and from the Yolo County Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center.  Additionally, the unit works in partnership with the Multi-Disciplinary Interview Center.

As stated, there does not appear to be a direct relationship between Ms. Beeman and the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office, but there is enough here to give one pause.

On the other hand, the DA’s Office was willing to give Ms. Medlock a light charge, as well, until they were hit with uproar from CASA and others in the community who believed the plea agreement and penalty were too light.

The DA cites specifically that Ms. Beeman had no previous criminal offenses.  That may be true.  However,  the falsification of the Clery Act occurred over a three-year period, 2005, 2006 and 2007.  Moreover, her embezzlement also occurred over a period of years.

How is that different than the burglar who breaks into separate people’s homes and gets caught each time?  The only difference here is that she was able to escape detection for several years.

Unfortunately, the law appears to be set up to get the common criminal, while the white collar crook, who probably ends up stealing far more than the common burglar, escapes prison time.

In the meantime, Yolo County has put people in prison for far less.  An individual stealing a few hundred dollars gets 9 years, an individual who bounced $215 in checks gets 8, and an individual who steals a $3.99 package of shredded cheese gets 7.  Meanwhile, Ms. Beeman will likely get probation for stealing $10,000 and falsifying forcible sex offense reports.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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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  1. medwoman


    I would like to ask for a clarification. In previous posts it has seemed that you do not favor prison time as a cost effective means of addressing nonviolent crime. A position with which I completely agree.
    Are you now making the case that prison time should be considered for these two women ? Or are you suggesting that none of the cases you have cited should have warranted prison time, or something in between ?

  2. J.R.

    Some ironies in this story:

    1. We call for jail time for convicted felons like Beeman. Certainly she deserves it. Yet we complain about the expenditures on California jails that are eating up increasing portions of the budget.

    2. We cry and wail about the draconian federal and state budget cuts. Yet time after time when we take a close look at federal and state programs, we see them rife with corruption and waste. Over the course of her career, Ms. Beeman wasted millions of dollars that went into her salary and into programs that either achieved nothing or actually caused harm.

  3. Fight Against Injustice

    I think that David is trying to say–let’s be fair. Make the punishment fit the crime.

    If you are going to give probation to Beeman who stole a lot of money over several years, then the cheese man, the bad check writer and the guy that stole a couple of hundred dollars, should be on probation.

    David is not promoting prison time (he was against it for these petty crimes). David is promoting fairness in judgement.

  4. rusty49

    She should go to jail. What’s to stop any white collar criminals who are thinking about stealing hundreds of thousands from the system if they’re only going to get probation when all is said and done? I agree, if the smaller crimes go to jail then she certainly needs to go to.

  5. Phil Coleman

    A past history of criminal behavior does not equate to a prior conviction. In rendering a criminal sentence, the DA and courts can only count convictions as “priors.” Without getting too technical here, even some prior convictions don’t count if they reflect behavior unrelated to the current case, or the conviction(s)was many years past.

    Everybody reading these types of stories realizes that no opportunity on this blog is ever missed to assail the Yolo District Attorney and his office. But this favorable deal contention is really a stretch. The association was remote at best. It has been my experience that when a criminal justice colleague or associate criminally violates the public trust, police and prosecutors are often harsher with their judgment out a sense of betrayal.

  6. E Roberts Musser

    Wait a minute.
    1) Didn’t dmg advocate that the sentence for Medlock should have remained probation only; and now seems to be advocating for jailtime for Beeman? Yet admits both are guilty of the same crime. I’m not following the logic here.
    2) Medlock had aleady been convicted of a felony, when she committed a second crime of the exact same type. Beeman had never been convicted of anything before she got caught. The two cases are not the same, regardless of whether one feels white collar crime should be punishable by prison time or not.
    3) Burglary and the white collar crime of embezzlement are infinitely different. I’m sure the average person would be far more upset and in danger of their life by having someone enter their house illegally and steal $100 out of their wallet, then having a thief steal a $100 via embezzlement.
    4) I agree w medwoman that there is a real inconsistency here, when dmg seems to be advocating for prison time for a nonviolent crime; yet seems to be advocating for no jail time for what is deemed “low level” offenders such as the guy who stopped in the middle of I-80 in a domestic dispute, putting his own child at considerable risk.

    Seems like the pot is calling the kettle black here, if you catch my drift…

  7. Superfluous Man


    “1) Didn’t dmg advocate that the sentence for Medlock should have remained probation only; and now seems to be advocating for jailtime for Beeman? Yet admits both are guilty of the same crime. I’m not following the logic here.”

    I thought he was highlighting the discrepancies with regard to white collar and other crimes in that case? Also, I thought he reported or commented that he thought a stiffer punishment was needed in Medlock’s case.

    “2) Medlock had aleady been convicted of a felony, when she committed a second crime of the exact same type. Beeman had never been convicted of anything before she got caught. The two cases are not the same,”

    That was absolutely a major consideration, Medlock’s recent prior and the similarities of the crimes.

  8. David M. Greenwald

    “Didn’t dmg advocate that the sentence for Medlock should have remained probation only; and now seems to be advocating for jailtime for Beeman? Yet admits both are guilty of the same crime. I’m not following the logic here. “

    The logic was that the DA and defendant had already agreed to a plea agreement in Medlock. Prior to that I favored jailtime in that case as a matter of fairness. However, I do not buy the DA’s explanation for wanting to withdraw the agreement in Medlock. A lot of observers were appalled that Judge Fall allowed that to happen.

  9. David M. Greenwald

    “2) Medlock had aleady been convicted of a felony, when she committed a second crime of the exact same type. Beeman had never been convicted of anything before she got caught. The two cases are not the same, regardless of whether one feels white collar crime should be punishable by prison time or not. “

    Really, if you look at the two cases, the only difference was that Medlock was caught the year before in another jurisdiction, while Beeman committed the same crimes was not caught until later.

  10. E Roberts Musser

    To dmg: So let me get this straight –
    1) You did advocate that Medlock be given probation only; yet are advocating for Beeman to get jail time – for the same exact crime;
    2) You completely ignore the FACT that Beeman had a prior conviction, but Beeman DID NOT.

    Sorry, your logic escapes me…

  11. Roger Rabbit

    She is lucky that she was not wearing a red shirt and talking to a Hispanic man during the crime or this would be a gang crime. Does anyone know if she has tattoos or ever walks through West Sac?

    Pay to play, perhaps she donated to Reisig’s campaign, maybe she knows where Reisig got married and divorced and where the secret documents are hidden, maybe she agreed to testify for the DA in some future case when he needs her, lots of reasons for a good deal, we see it all the time. Out!

  12. Themis

    If the DA, Court or Police Department has a connection to an accused person or business, it seems like the case should be moved to a different county.

  13. David M. Greenwald

    “1) You did advocate that Medlock be given probation only; yet are advocating for Beeman to get jail time – for the same exact crime;”

    You got this completely false: I advocated for both to get prison time.

    October 26 article: Too Lenient? Plea Agreement For Former CASA Director Draws Questions ([url]http://davisvanguard.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3830:too-lenient-plea-agreement-for-former-casa-director-draws-questions&catid=74:judicial-watch&Itemid=100[/url])

    Once they had reached the plea agreement, what I did not advocate for was that they had good grounds to rescind it.

    “2) You completely ignore the FACT that Beeman had a prior conviction, but Beeman DID NOT.”

    And what did I say about this? I said that this is a matter of semantics. You are letting Beeman off in this case because she did not get caught when she committed her first crime. Whereas Medlock did get caught when she committed her first crime. Beeman actually committed more individual crimes, because she falsified the records three different years.

  14. Mender

    The tangled web continues. The Beeman case was a very straight forward case to follow. On the other hand the Medlock case as we all know is a true debacle. First, there was no DOJ error regarding Medlock’s prior conviction in Sacto. All records showed a felonly conviction. Fact was a clerical error at the DA’s office. Then of course we have yet to see any proof regarding the famous forged document that the DA so conveniently manifested to get Judge Fall to throw out the plea agreement. In talking with others in Yolo I have found that many are troubled by the circumstances regarding this case. We can hardly wait to hear the new plea agreement and more importantly what the sentence will be. Suspect more DA magic tricks. What a shame that there is still no accountability regarding how the DA operates.

  15. MCIYOK

    … .”the tangled web continues.”
    Relationship, Relationship, Relationship. Also there are several other things that are important to consider regarding the outcome in these two cases. FYI: Follow the embezzlement case regarding 1st Northern Bank and there is no tie to the DA and I bet the outcome will be very different as compared to these two cases.

    First, UCD is glad that the Beeman case is behind them and unlike the CASA folks did not wage a public vindictive campaign. Really bad form on their part letting Medlock start the fire and then they burned down the house.

    Second, there is a significant relationship between the DA and this UCD program. The only relationship that the DA and CASA have is based on the lies the DA told and CASA called them on. Now of course they are best buds.

    Third, BOTH have prior criminal histories. Weighing heavy in the Medlock case and hardly at all with Beeman.

    Also is there any significance to Medlock being a complusive gambler? Spending the money on a gambling addiction as compared to Beeman spending it on personal expenses.

    Medlock can not get probation now that the new plea deal includes misappropriation of public funds.

    Most importantly no public outcry regarding the handling of the Beeman case or dirty tricks by the DA.

    The Yolo County DA never has any “ESPLAININ” to do!

  16. GSummers

    Where is the rest of the story? David you need to do some follow-up. There is a new plea agreement regarding the Medlock case. They will be back in court on April 29th, 9am Dept 2. Parties are in agreement this time. CASA is sending out notices to everyone and their brother. They have handled this so poorly. By the way I am a CASA. No doubt they will be making a statement at the hearing and of course blame Medlock for everything bad that has happened.

    I would agree with several that have commented on this blog regarding how the DA has handled this case _ more dirty tricks. Of course let us not forget Judge Fall’s part regarding the first plea agreement. There is no doubt that it was thrown out based on a lie — manifested document. All this extra time and money for what? I am also very anxious to see how or if the gambling addiction will play into sentencing. I look forward to the Vanguard article after the 4/29/2011 hearing.

  17. GSummers

    Read in the Davis Enterprise yesterday that the hearing date was not accepted by Judge Fall. David can you supply use with any new info? Or is this really just a blip on the radar now??

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