Attorney General Bonta Secures Six-Year Prison Sentence for Former CalPERS Employee Who Stole Nearly $700,000 From Retirees

Monday, January 9, 2023
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Gloria Najera-Villanueva, who worked as a senior analyst with CalPERS, targeted victims who were elderly, disabled, or under conservatorship

OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced the sentencing of a former employee of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) who stole nearly $700,000 in retirement funds from 10 former State of California employees. Gloria Najera-Villanueva was sentenced on Thursday to six years in prison and ordered to pay full restitution to the victims she defrauded. The California Department of Justice (DOJ) Criminal Law Division carried out the prosecution after a joint investigation by the CalPERS Investigation Unit, the California Highway Patrol, and the DOJ's Division of Law Enforcement.

“Abusing the trust of elders to steal their hard-earned retirement money is despicable,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Rather than serving the public, Gloria Najera-Villanueva abused her position of trust to steal from vulnerable retirees. Now, justice has been served: Our DOJ team and law enforcement partners worked hard to hold Ms. Najera-Villanueva to account, and secure restitution for those she wronged. At the California Department of Justice, we remain committed to protecting and defending the rights of our most vulnerable, including our elders.”

“Justice has been served for our members and their families who were defrauded,” said Matthew Jacobs, CalPERS’ General Counsel. “We want to thank the authorities for their efforts on this case on behalf of CalPERS and the public employees we serve.”

“Protecting the most vulnerable members of our communities, such as the elderly and disabled, is paramount to the mission of the California Highway Patrol,” said CHP Acting Commissioner Sean Duryee. “We are proud to have partnered with the Department of Justice for the successful prosecution of this case.”

Najera-Villanueva, who worked as a senior analyst with CalPERS, targeted victims who were elderly, disabled, had powers of attorney, or conservatorships. Between September 2017 and January 2021, she illegally accessed the personal banking information of 10 CalPERS retirees, and used $689,465.36 of their money to pay her own credit card bills. She also manipulated accounts so that retirees' deposits would be directed to her own personal bank accounts. On Thursday, Najera-Villanueva pleaded no contest to three felony charges of financial elder abuse. She also admitted to a white-collar enhancement to the charges, which imposes an increased prison penalty.

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