Winemaker Sentenced 8 Years for Embezzlement and Tax Evasion
Source: Santa Barbara County District Attorney
Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce. E. Dudley announced today that on Thursday September 21, 2017, Christian Lucas Garvin, the former manager and winemaker at Oreana Winery, was sentenced to 8 years state prison, ordered to pay $1,050,270 in restitution, and ordered to pay a fine of $1,759,080.00.
On August 8, 2017, Christian Garvin pled guilty to Grand Theft by Embezzlement, a violation of Penal Code section 487(a), and three counts of Filing False Tax Returns for tax year 2008-2010, a violation of Revenue and Taxation Code section 19706. Mr. Garvin also admitted an excessive loss enhancement and an aggravated white-collar crime enhancement because the amount of theft exceeded $500,000.
A joint investigation by the Santa Barbara Police Department, the California Franchise Tax Board, and the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Office, determined that between 2006 and 2013 Mr. Garvin was embezzling money from his employer, Oreana Winery, by depositing checks in a DBA account opened by him, in which the name of the account closely resembled the name Oreana Winery, instead of depositing those funds in the legitimate Oreana Winery bank account. During that time, Mr. Garvin was the manager and winemaker at Oreana Winery. In addition to embezzling funds from Oreana Winery, Mr. Garvin was also filing false tax returns in an attempt to cover up his embezzlement.
At sentencing, the Court ordered restitution in the amount of $879,540 to Oreana Winery, and $170,730 to the California Franchise Tax Board.
District Attorney Joyce Dudley stated, "As a direct result of Senior Deputy District Attorney Brian Cota's diligent and comprehensive prosecution, Mr. Garvin was remanded into custody after the sentencing and is now awaiting transportation to the California Department of Corrections."