SANTA ANA — A 35-year-old Irvine woman pleaded not guilty Monday to embezzling more than $3 million from a Long Beach attorney.
Shauna Ilisa was charged March 29 with 83 felony counts. She is accused of theft from an elder adult and money laundering with sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime in excess of $500,000 and value of a transaction exceeding $1 million but less than $2.5 million.
The defendant is accused of stealing personal and professional money from attorney Gary R. Carlin and his wife Gwyn while she worked as an office administrator, Long Beach police Det. Vincent Nguyenlieu said in court papers.
“Gary and Gwyn stated that they were heavily dependent on Shauna to help manage their personal and professional finances,” Nguyenlieu said. “They further stated that Shauna convinced them that COVID-19 made it unsafe to go to a physical bank. Consequently, they gave Shauna access to their personal identifiable information and financial accounts, so that she could manage their personal finances.”
The attorney was 78 years old when the alleged embezzlement began and 79 when it was uncovered, Nguyenlieu said.
“Gary and Gwyn alleged that Shauna stole millions of dollars from their personal and business” accounts, Nguyenlieu said. “Shauna then used a majority of the money to make purchases.”
In Orange County, where the couple resides, the losses amounted to $3,254,989, and $1,386,867.76 for the law firm, the detective alleged.
The pair also alleged additional losses of $82,442 from one credit card and $125,353.25 from another one, Nguyenlieu alleged.
“There were numerous text messages and audio messages in which Shauna stated that she had made financial mistakes and was trying to reach an agreement to repay Gary,” Nguyenlieu said. “She also stated that she was trying to sell her belongings and property to come up with the money for repayment.”
The detective added, “The records indicated that a large portion of the fraudulently obtained monies were used to purchase millions of dollars’ worth of goods from numerous merchants, including Tiffany & Co., Fashionphile, Van Cleef and Arpels, Cartier, the RealReal, and many more.”
The alleged embezzlement happened between Aug. 5, 2021, to Feb. 9, 2022, Nguyenlieu said. In September of 2021 it is alleged she took $1.5 million alone, the detective added.
Ilisa was arrested by Newport Beach police on Friday.
At Ilisa’s arraignment in the jail courtroom in Santa Ana on Monday, her attorney, Jeff Voll, requested her release due to “medical conditions,” according to court records. Bail was set at $2 million, but a review of the bail was scheduled for Thursday in the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.