When someone embezzles more than $300,000 from a business, that company is not likely to hire back the embezzler and give her a promotion. But such is not the case with the state of California, which even changed the rules so the embezzler could get a new job.
As a recent report noted, Carey Renee Moore (then going by the name Carey Renee Aceves) embezzled $320,000 from the state’s Department of Child Support Services “by using her position to purchase, among other things, a television, a hot tub and gazebo and electronics, pornographic videos, handcuffs, chains and whips. Moore falsified records to cover up the purchases and sold some items to buy a $65,000 Lexus.” The California Highway Patrol said it was one of the largest cases they had uncovered.
Before the cops could close the deal, Moore transferred with the greatest of ease to the State Board of Equalization, which learned of her arrest and began termination proceedings. But the embezzler resigned from the board before those proceedings became final. Moore served two years in prison for felony grand theft but then bagged a position with the state’s High Speed Rail Authority, the so-called bullet train, a boondoggle in progress. Moore was able to get the position because the state Personnel Board removed from state job applications two questions dealing with previous convictions for misdemeanors and felonies. Moore claims she didn’t lie about that because the state didn’t ask. This is an obvious case of double standards and special treatment, but there is more going on here.
The state does not reveal how many criminals it hires, and when a Sacramento Bee reporter asked bullet-train bosses how and why they hired a convicted embezzler, they called it a “personnel matter” and would not comment. Last year it emerged that the state parks department had hidden some $54 million, which one legislator called “deceit and thievery.” It later emerged that a key figure in the scandal had an extensive criminal background. As with Moore, that proved no object to state employment, and that should come as no surprise
A state where waste, fraud and abuse are common practice is certain to have a soft spot for convicted felons and embezzlers with their hand in the till. In state government they fit right in.