Shawna Barretto Allegedly Stole $1.4 mil from Law Firms; Fred Correll Took Teamsters' $10k

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An Anaheim bookkeeper has been charged with embezzling more than $1.4 million from two law firms and issuing unauthorized checks to her husband.

Meanwhile, the former treasurer of the Fullerton office of a Teamsters union has pleaded
guilty to embezzling $10,000 and faces sentencing Aug. 4.

Shawna Renee Barretto is accused of performing "deceptive record-keeping" from 2005-12, when the 39-year-old worked as a bookkeeper and office manager for two law firms, according to a statement from the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA).

Barretto allegedly used the law firms' money to make unauthorized payments to her personal credit card accounts, opened new credit card accounts in the law firms' names and hid the illegal activity in the businesses' computer-based accounting records.

Among the expenses the law firms unwittingly incurred were private school tuition for Barretto's children and golf club memberships, according to the OCDA. Between 2005 and 2008, her husband, Roberto Nilo Barretto, allegedly accepted five fraudulent checks issued by his wife totaling $10,825, add prosecutors, who have also slapped the 53-year-old with a grand theft charge.

A different employee of the law firms was checking past bank records on May 12, 2012, and discovered discrepancies in the financial records that were reported to the Irvine Police Department, the OCDA says.

Shawna Barretto, who made her $1.4 million bail, is charged with 22 felony counts of computer access fraud, 21 felony counts of falsifying records, seven felony counts of grand theft, two felony counts of identity theft, one felony count of theft from elder, with sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime over $100,000, aggravated white collar crime over $500,000, property damage or loss over $65,000, property loss over $200,000, property damage over $1.3 million, money laundering over $50,000, and money laundering over $150,000. A conviction would send her to state prison for up to 32 years.

Roberto Barretto, who is out on $20,000 bail, faces felony grand theft and up to three years in jail if convicted. The couple has a pre-trial hearing scheduled Aug. 8 at Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach.

Fred W. Correll is the 79-year-old Fullerton fellow who pleaded guilty last week in federal court to embezzling $10,000 from the Teamsters and not including the income on his tax return. He'd worked for the union's Fullerton-based office from 1970 until his resignation in February 2011.

He reached a plea deal that states he filed a tax return in his and his wife's names but failed to report the $10,000 he stole. Without the guilty plea, he was looking at up to eight years in the federal pen and a $500,000 fine if convicted. Prosecutors are instead expected to recommend a sentence ranging from six to 30 months.

Also as part of the deal, Ryan W. Sherard, Correll's son-in-law and the union's former president, was expected to plead guilty to making a false statement on a financial report regarding $9,600 he received from the Teamsters. A year in prison is the maximum punishment for that.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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