SF Weekly readers might have wondered what happened to Belinda Exon, the devious contractor who took off with more than $1 million in San Francisco funds designated for low-income housing.
Well, she's going to prison -- for three years.
Our sister paper OC Weekly reports that Exon, president of Rehab Financial Services, Inc., a now-defunct Huntington Beach company that held grant money and loan proceeds in escrow for municipalities, recently got sent to federal prison. Her crime: embezzling nearly $4 million from 21
California cities, including San Francisco, Fullerton, and San Juan Capistrano.
The 56-year-old Phoenix resident was ordered to surrender
to prison authorities by June 3. District Judge Otis D. Wright II ordered her to pay $3,885,247 in restitution to two dozen municipalities.
Last year, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed a suit against Exon, accusing her of misappropriating the Mayor's Office of Housing funds set aside for loans and grants for low-income homeowners.
On March 24, 2010, the city realized that the company's Huntington Beach offices had abruptly closed and roughly $1 million was removed from the city's accounts. The city soon after learned that federal authorities were already investigating Exon and her company for alleged theft and embezzlement.
Exon spent about $3.9 million on vacant land and
residential properties in Arizona. She also used $500,000 to start a landscaping and pool
businesses, including Arizona Pool & Spa in Chandler.
Exon pleaded guilty last May in Los Angeles to one
embezzling money from organizations that receive federal funds. As part
of her plea deal, she agreed to forfeit the properties she purchased
and to make full restitution to the municipalities, OC Weekly reports.
Jack Song, spokesman for the San Francisco City Attorney's Office, told SF Weekly that the city is indeed getting its $1 million back, all of which will be deposited back into the city's low-income housing stock.