March 25, 2009
Therapist pleads to defrauding county, state
LOS ANGELES – A former contract therapist with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health accused of defrauding the county and filing false tax returns pleaded guilty today.
Deputy District Attorney Juliet Schmidt of the Public Integrity Division said Carla Gireaux, 62, pleaded guilty to one count each of grand theft of personal property and filing a false tax return. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Horwitz sentenced Gireaux to 16 months in state prison.
Gireaux, a licensed marriage and family therapist, was charged last month in a felony complaint for arrest warrant following an investigation by the District Attorney's Bureau of Investigation, the Franchise Tax Board, the California Department of Justice and the Los Angeles County Office of the Auditor Controller.
An investigation by agents of the Franchise Tax Board further revealed that Gireaux filed false tax returns and, in one instance, failed to file a tax return altogether.
The defendant billed the county for mental health services never rendered. Of 196 clients, 25 were interviewed by investigators establishing a loss of $76,469. Based on the total client population of 196 people, a statistician calculated the total loss at an estimated $593,399.44. At sentencing, the defendant was ordered to pay restitution in that amount to the County of Los Angeles. Additionally, she was ordered to pay the FTB $112,272.
Media Relations Division
Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office