By Neha Malhi
WOODLAND, CA – The victim in a grand theft embezzlement case here in Yolo County Superior Court Friday demanded the accused spend time in jail.
In the preliminary hearing for Emanuel Westly Johnson, before Judge Timothy Fall, the accused refused to accept any plea deal.
Johnson, known as “EJ” by coworkers, is charged with grand theft embezzlement, among other charges, and an enhancement of prior felony conviction.
The victim testified that EJ was hired as a manager for the installation department of the company. The company acts as a third party between fitness gear/machine manufacturers and clients.
The victim stated, “In August, 2020, the facility had a power issue with P&G and they were shutting down our facility…it was not a normal business day on Friday and as I walked into the back warehouse I found EJ loading some exercise bicycles into his personal vehicle.”
EJ allegedly told the victim the delivery of these bikes is on the way to EJ’s home and he will personally deliver it.
When asked about the specifications of client info and their dispatch order, EJ couldn’t give the correct response and was asked to give an explanation the next week, said the victim.
The witness stated that on Monday EJ came into his office and showed him a dispatch order from a company in Ohio. After looking into the computer database when the plaintiff couldn’t find any client like that, said he was not satisfied by EJ’s explanation, and fired him on the spot.
The defense accused the victim of firing EJ without doing a proper investigation and accused him of having a negative work environment by pointing out that the company had taken away pension plans in the past and has not given bonuses promised to its employees.
However, the Yolo County Deputy District Attorney presented two witnesses, one being the victim and the other being the investigating officer, in his support.
The officer testified that during his investigation, he found a PayPal account being used to accept payment for services and inventory deliveries made by the company. Further investigation has revealed this PayPal account as EJ’s personal account, the officer said.
The defense argued that EJ only put bikes in his van and not actually stole them, and the charges should be for a misdemeanor rather than a felony crime.
The defense also added that EJ is 50 years old and has no prior convictions of a felony, thus suggesting the judge reduce his charge to a misdemeanor.
To that the prosecution argued that “EJ is taking profits from the store and none of the supervisors or the other employees had knowledge of it. He had created this fraudulent PayPal account and contacted customers in order to divert this money which requires planning and scheming.”
The DDA said the victim had no intention of settling this case with money reimbursement, as money is not the issue. The aggregating factor is that he violated the trust that has been placed into his position and the victim is expecting the judge to set a trial.
In the end, Judge Fall said there was enough evidence presented to sustain a guilty verdict against EJ and said the next hearing would be to set a trial date.