Jillian Hanson-Cox embezzled about $3.5 million from Century Design Inc. from April 2004 to October 2008 and failed to report the income on her tax returns, officials said.
Appearing before a federal magistrate judge, she pleaded guilty to felony charges of mail fraud and filing a false income tax return stemming from her employment as controller at the maker of equipment for processing polymer matrix composite. The judge accepted the plea at a Sept. 14 hearing in San Diego.
In addition to her CDI work, Hanson-Cox was elected in 2004 as a member of the part-time city council of El Cajon, Calif. She resigned from the council in March 2012 after agents for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service executed search warrants at her home and office.
“While embezzling millions of dollars from CDI, former Councilwoman Hanson-Cox not only traded on her reputation as a public official but also betrayed every citizen who expected her to act honestly in both her private and public affairs,” Laura Duffy, U.S. attorney for the southern district of California, said in a statement.
Hanson-Cox wrote unauthorized checks from CDI's business account to pay for personal expenses and for services and items related to her community activities, according to court records.
Her false entries in CDI's records reflected a different payee rather than the actual payee on the check.
Hanson-Cox is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 3. Maximum penalties include prison time, fines, restitution and assessments.
CDI President-Owner Keith McConnell and former CDI owner Robert Basso, a still-active composites technology innovator, attended the hearing for Hanson-Cox in a federal courtroom.
Founded in 1957, CDI designs and manufactures machines to pre-impregnate fibers and advanced materials. Products include resin filmers, rewinders, slitters, fiber placement devices, sheeters and shears and creels.