SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A Sacramento man has been indicted on charges of embezzling more than half a million dollars from the employee retirement fund at his real estate investment company, according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday.
David Bonuccelli has served as an adviser to California’s teacher retirement system.
Prosecutors allege he withdrew $517,000 from his firm’s retirement funds in 2012 and lied about the end-of-year balance on forms filed in 2012 and 2013. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each charge.
Bonuccelli’s lawyer, Malcolm Segal, says his client borrowed money from his own retirement plan, accounted for it appropriately and has mostly paid it back.
“Mr. Bonuccelli has been a pillar of the Sacramento business community for decades,” Segal said. “These charges are ill-conceived.”
Records from the California State Teachers Retirement System show David L. Bonuccelli & Associates was paid just over $1 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2015. He’s had a contract with CalSTRS, the nation’s second largest public pension fund, for at least a decade.
He’s not accused of stealing from the $214 billion pension fund. Michael Sicilia, a spokesman for CalSTRS, said Bonuccelli’s firm advises fund managers on debt structure within the real estate portfolio.
“As a third-party consultant, the firm has no control over or access to any of CalSTRS’ investment funds,” Sicilia said.