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The two top executives of a South San Francisco geotechnical company have pleaded guilty in federal court in San Francisco to conspiring to embezzle more than $1.7 million from two employee pension plans. Geo Grout Inc. president Kenneth Tholin and vice president Enrique Quiles entered their pleas before U.S. District Judge Edward Chen on Wednesday.
They will be sentenced by Chen on July 31 and face possible prison terms of up to five years as well as a possible order for restitution plus a fine of up to twice the loss caused. U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said the two men admitted during the plea to taking $1,772,500 from the pension funds between 2009 and 2011 for unauthorized purposes. Haag said the executives have thus far returned $901,481 to the accounts.
The company performs specialized geotechnical work in shoring up soil around and underneath tunnels, dams, mines and large structures such as airports, highways and commercial buildings. The prosecution stems from an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor, which has the responsibility of receiving and monitoring annual reports filed by pension administrators.
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