Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Updated: August 31, 12:34 PM ET
Ex-employee may have taken $1.5M
ESPN.com news services
SAN FRANCISCO -- A former payroll manager for the San Francisco Giants has been arrested on federal charges associated with embezzling more than $1.5 million from the baseball club's employees, including players, and using the money for fancy cars and a new home.
Robin O'Connor, 41, was confronted by the team in July and acknowledged diverting more than $600,000 from two Giants employees, a criminal complaint filed last month in U.S. District Court in San Francisco said. An affidavit filed by an FBI special agent states that the club immediately fired her.
The Giants confirmed Tuesday that the club had discovered possible embezzlement by O'Connor last month.
"We immediately notified the United States Attorney's office and are working with the federal authorities to ensure that this matter is thoroughly investigated and that any wrongdoing is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," the team said in a statement.
The team conducted an audit after O'Connor's alleged admission and discovered 11 suspicious deposits totaling more than double what she had confessed to, for a total of $1,513,836, the affidavit said.
O'Connor, who lives in the San Francisco Bay area suburb of American Canyon, didn't immediately respond to an email or phone message Tuesday night. The federal public defender listed as her attorney also did not respond to an email seeking comment.
When contacted via her Facebook page by KGO-TV, she said she couldn't comment on the case.
"I really want to speak out about this, but I am not allowed to do this as part of an agreement that I have at the moment... I am sure that you have come to realize in your profession, all is not always as it appears... Lastly I do understand why you are doing this and have no hard feelings. Thanks for letting me know this [KGO report] is going to happen," she wrote.
O'Connor faces federal felony charges of wire fraud and fraud in connection with a computer. She's due in court Sept. 30. She is currently free on a $500,000 bail bond.
The team paid her $80,000 annually in base salary and she was eligible for bonuses, according to the affidavit. She processed payroll for Giants employees, including players, and was responsible for making changes to amounts of money sent to employees' bank accounts.
The first sign of trouble came on July 5, when the Giants were contacted by Bank of America, who said O'Connor had applied for a residential loan for a property in San Diego, the affidavit stated. The loan file included a letter on San Francisco Giants letterhead explaining two large deposits that had been made into O'Connor's bank account.
"Because of her outstanding contributions to our Major League Baseball team and front office during the 2010 season that assisted us in accomplishing our goal of winning the 2010 World Series, she was given two additional payments of compensation in May 2011," the letter, quoted in the affidavit, states.
Those payments were for $100,090 and $200,348, the affidavit states.
The letter also provided a phone number for a human resources manager who could confirm the payments, but the number was actually O'Connor's direct line at work, the affidavit states.
In addition, documents obtained by investigators showed that O'Connor spent tens of thousands of dollars on expensive cars, including a BMW.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.