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A former executive at Select Staffing and "risk manager of the year" pleaded innocent Wednesday to one felony county of grand theft and six counts of filing false tax returns related to embezzlement from the staffing firm, the Santa Barbara County (Calif.) District Attorney's Office reported. The executive, Freddy Orlando Pachon, formerly served as vice president of risk management for Select, responsible for overseeing the firm's workers' compensation claims.
Pachon, 51, embezzled more than $686,000 from Select, according to a press release from the city of Santa Barbara. An internal audit at Select discovered Pachon had taken funds from January 2008 through December 2012.
The defendant devised a scheme in which funds from medical bill funds that should have been paid to Select were instead deposited into his personal account, according to the city press release. Santa Barbara police officers and agents from the California Franchise Tax Board arrested Pachon at his home in Oxnard, Calif., on Aug. 30. He remains in custody on $100,000 bail.
Pachon is slated to appear in court again on Friday for the setting of a preliminary hearing. He faces a possible sentence of 13 years and four months in prison.
Pachon joined Select in 2001 as a worker's compenstion consultant. He was named risk manager of the year for 2009 by Business Insurance magazine; the award is considered to be the highest honor in the field of of managing and insuring risk. Pachon had also received the Risk Innovator Award and the National Underwriter Award for Excellence in Workers' Compensation Risk Managment, both in Fall 2008.
Staffing Industry Analysts ranks Santa Barbara-based Select Staffing as the 10th-largest staffing firm in the United States.