Former Upland resident sentenced to 37 months for embezzling over $1.4 million from her employer

 

Date: February 3, 2020

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

LOS ANGELES – A former Upland resident was sentenced today to 37 months for misappropriating more than $1.4 million from her employer.

Maria Huizinga, a.k.a. Maria Younghans formerly of Upland, was sentenced by United States District Judge John F. Walter. Huizinga pleaded guilty in November 2019 to one count of wire fraud and one count of subscribing to a false income tax return. Huizinga was also ordered to pay $1,472,006 in restitution to her former employer, Taylor Freezers.

According to her plea agreement, from 2007 to 2019, Huizinga was the director of human resources for Taylor Freezers of California, a wholesale freezer distribution and service company based in Commerce. In this role, she was entrusted with access to the company's finances and banking information, including its payroll system, court papers state.

Huizinga admitted that she accessed Taylor Freezers' online payroll system and falsely claimed she was owed additional compensation for overtime hours, commission, and unused vacation, which caused Taylor Freezers to pay wages to which Huizinga was not entitled.

In addition, Huizinga admitted to placing two family members on Taylor Freezers' payroll and caused Taylor Freezers to pay a salary to these family members even though they had not been hired and were not entitled to a salary.

Finally, Huizinga caused Taylor Freezers executives to authorize and sign manual checks purportedly necessary to pay monies owed to company employees, which Huizinga then stole, altered to make payable to herself, and deposited to her personal bank account, according to court documents.

Huizinga admitted that she caused Taylor Freezers to make approximately $954,998 in unauthorized payments to herself, and approximately $517,008 in unauthorized payments to her family members, for a total of approximately $1,472,006 in unauthorized payments during the course of the scheme.

This case was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation and FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Scott D. Tenley.