Items of Atascadero woman convicted of embezzlement are sold by local online auction site
By Neil Farrell
ATASCADERO — The ill-gotten gains of an Atascadero woman convicted of embezzlement and sentenced to prison are being sold by a local online auction site, along with many valuable collectibles of jewelry, sports and rock ‘n’ roll potentially worth tens of thousands of dollars.
This is believed to be the first time the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office has held an auction in an effort to secure restitution for a crime victim, Assistant District Attorney Eric Dobroth said. , who has worked in the county attorney’s office for about 15 years. .
Items sold on the website of SLO Cal Estate Auctions, a company owned by Doug and Jennifer Little of Morro Bay, were seized by authorities from the home of Joy Noel Wilde, who was 43 when she was convicted of embezzlement last year.
Wilde did not contest 18 counts of embezzlement, two counts of forgery and one count of embezzlement from a local construction company, according to a press release from the prosecutor’s office. She was sentenced to 10 years and four months in state prison on March 3, 2021.
Among the allegations Wilde faced was the theft of more than $500,000, an admission that the prosecutor said “requires Wilde to serve his sentence in state prison, as opposed to county jail. “.
The DA’s Major Fraud Unit investigated the case and found that over a span of more than three years, Wilde stole $877,123 from her former employer, Greg Wiemann Construction, when she was an accountant and manager. office, according to the press release.
“The theft scheme involved Ms. Wilde swiping 64 fraudulent checks and attempting to swipe three more,” the press release said.
Speaking on what is believed to be a lengthy prison sentence for what is essentially a robbery case, Judge Jesse Marino commented on the “scandalously large sum of money” taken by Ms Wilde, according to the press release, and concluded that the decade-long prison sentence was justified, “due to its volume”.
Victim and business owner Greg Wiemann was said to have been present at the sentencing “and recounted the significant impact of Ms. Wilde’s theft in a letter to the court”, according to the press release. Judge Marino acknowledged that Wiemann had placed great trust in Wilde and that Wilde’s deception was “the most difficult aspect of this case” for the victim.
So, with a secure conviction and sentencing, the prosecutor’s office turned to his restitution order, which was considerable. Dobroth said they seized the items that ended up in the auction, and whatever amount they sell will be given to Wiemann and credited to Wilde’s restitution order.
The items they seized were assessed, and whatever the victim wanted to keep, he could, and the court order mentions several items that Wiemann chose to keep. The appraised value was applied to the total amount of his return, and the auction proceeds also count.
Regardless of the bid amount, Wilde will always be responsible for the refund. Dobroth hopes the auction will bring amounts close to the real value of the objects and return as much as possible to the victim.
This agreement was formalized by a court filing dated April 4, 2022. Wilde agreed to the sale, relinquishing ownership of all items. The document also paved the way for the auction, which went live on May 5.
Dobroth said such auctions, while extremely rare, are “a way to liquidate ill-gotten gains and recover money for the victim.” Law enforcement has often seized items purchased with dirty money – mainly thefts and drug trafficking – and often includes expensive cars.
Dobroth said his office decided that would be the best way to get restitution for the victim. He noted that an embezzlement case — of which there have been several across the county in recent years — is particularly hard on victims, who feel a sense of betrayal.
“For the most part,” he said, “an accountant is like a family member to these small businesses. One of the hardest parts is the betrayal they feel.
Wilde apparently “laundered” the money she stole by buying, in many cases, very expensive fashion accessories. Among the items for sale are:
• A HUBLOT 90 faceted cushion cut, 0.5 carat Crown of Light Diamond “Big Bang” Aero Watch, with a purchase receipt accompanying the item’s listing priced at $43,450 when Wilde bought it new
• A custom-designed and commissioned platinum bracelet with 11.5 carats of cushion-cut and emerald-cut diamonds, with an original purchase price of $104,000
• A “Crown of Light” necklace in 18k white gold, 2.37 carats diamond and 48 carats tanzanite that Wilde bought for $85,067
Sports memorabilia include mini footballs and helmets signed by former Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten; and by San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice. (Whitten is also destined for the Hall of Fame).
Among the music-related items are an electric guitar signed by country great Keith Urban; an acoustic guitar signed Demi Lovato; two autographed and signed tour cards by the members of Kiss (from their “End of the Road” world tour, which is still ongoing); as well as concert listings signed by Metallica members, and more.
There’s also a collection of rather extravagant custom shoes in different styles – high-top sneakers covered in gold leaf, Christian Louboutin snakeskin stilettos, and several pairs of knee-high Louboutin sneakers. There are also several high-priced handbags and clutches.
The auction continues until 7 p.m. on June 9, when bidding will begin to close. The auction ends completely at 8:15 p.m. on June 9.
SLO Cal Estate Auctions is actually a number of several smaller auction companies, operating under one roof. Jennifer Little said auctions taking place in other regions – with individual auctions held in Visalia and Fresno, Arroyo Grande, SLO, and up to Orcutt and Santa Maria – are done through these individual companies, who rent the auction software from SLO Cal Estate Auctions.
As real estate auctioneers, the firm’s clients are primarily the heirs of someone who passed away and left behind a lifetime’s worth of accumulated things – collectables, fine art , antique furniture, clothes, tools and just about anything you can imagine. Often family members don’t know what things are worth or how to get rid of them.
Jennifer Little said a client in Morro Bay found himself in a house full of what he considered worthless items. But rummaging through drawers and rummaging through hiding places revealed rare silver and gold coins, as well as gold jewelry worth tens of thousands of dollars, all found hidden in furniture the family was going to bring to Goodwill.
See: slocalestateauctions.com for more information, to create an account and bid on items, or just to satisfy your curiosity. The auction of Wilde’s ill-gotten gains is titled “San Luis Obispo County, District Attorney’s Office Asset Seizure Auction.”
If the DA’s auction of Wilde’s artifacts proves successful, it could lead to the local sale of more ill-gotten gains in the interests of justice and compensation for victims of crime.