Jan. 10, 2013
Monica Lara, OVN correspondent
The Ojai woman accused of embezzling more than $35,000 from the Ojai Eagles Youth Football League will learn whether she will face charges of grand theft when she returns to court for her preliminary hearing Feb. 26. Ventura County Superior Court Judge Kevin McGee set that date Wednesday at an early disposition hearing for Amber Workman. If convicted, the 37–year-old Workman could be sentenced to up to three years in jail. Defense attorney Richard Hanawalt anticipates the preliminary hearing will be lengthy because both sides will want to comb through details of the case. “In an embezzlement case, it could be a matter of opinion if funds were spent in the interest of the business or for frolic,” Hanawalt said. At the preliminary hearing, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office will have to prove both that there was a crime committed and that Workman could have committed the crime. Workman allegedly stole as much as $49,000 from the Ojai Eagles while she was the organization’s volunteer treasurer from January 2007 to December 2009. The league is a nonprofit organization supported by membership dues, donations and fundraising. League officials took the case to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office when the state notified them in 2010 that their tax-exempt status was revoked due to failure to file taxes during Workman’s two-year stint as treasurer. Workman was arrested in June 2012 after an investigation by the Sheriff’s Office determined that she had spent the money on personal items. She has been free on a $30,000 bond and a written promise to appear in court.