Ex-Kern County law librarian gets jail time, must pay restitution in embezzlement case

Crime Watch

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Annette Heath, former supervisor of the Kern County Law Library, was sentenced to jail on Tuesday after pleading no contest to embezzling library funds, according to court records.

She was sentenced to 150 days in jail and three years of probation after pleading no contest to three felonies related to embezzlement and embezzlement by a public officer, according to court records. Prosecutors have said she must pay $64,660 in restitution.

Heath admitted to taking library funds for personal use in thefts that occurred between Jan. 1, 2014, and Feb. 28, 2020, during which time she was law librarian, say reports filed by investigators.

Prosecutors said she overpaid herself $42,857 in wages, spent $13,935 on personal purchases and paid $7,867 for rental vehicles for family members.

Heath told investigators she deposited some of the money into her husband’s bank account.

Heath worked at the library for roughly 25 years, overseeing payroll, petty cash and other related expenses. She had sole access to the library’s account at Chase Bank, according to the reports.

A criminal investigation began after a judge reviewed financial documents and discovered a total loss of $160,000 to the law library fund in 2019, reports said. The judge also found Heath closed the library’s Chase account in early 2020 without board approval.

A review of payroll records found Heath in 2018 put down 456 hours of time which she never worked, according to the court filings.

Also discovered were $24,000 in transactions made through a PayPal account and an unknown amount made to a Hulu account, reports said. The law library did not have a Hulu account.

Heath retired in early 2020.

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