Ex-employee jailed over Napa winery thefts

A former president of the Napa Valley Crime Stoppers has been jailed after stealing more than US$600,000 from a Napa winery.

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Gerilee “Geri” Densberger, previously the president of Napa Valley Crime Stoppers, worked for Whitehall Lane Winery in Rutherford from 2009 until she was fired in November 2014 and arrested on suspicion of using her employer’s credit card.

As reported by the Napa Valley Register, Densberger stole up to $600,000 from the company, as well as  $37,000 from its owner, Thomas Leonardini Sr, over a period of five years.

Working as the winery’s payroll manager, Densberger used the company’s credit cards and money embezzled from its payroll to pay for holidays, jewellery, World Series tickets and a set of $2,000 golf clubs for her husband.

In May, Densberger pleaded guilty to six charges of grand theft. Sentencing Densberger to eight years in jail on Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Francisca Tisher called the systemic thefts “a stab wound to the heart.”

Densberger was also ordered to pay back the money that was stolen.

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