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Monday, June 25, 2012

Former San Mateo County Employees Charged With Stealing From the Dead

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge Is a recipe for a haunting
  • Is a recipe for a haunting

"They're climbing in your windows, snatching your stuff up." Could those be lyrics riffing off the Antoine Dodson YouTube hit, or a reference to an FBI investigation in San Mateo County?

Actually, they're both.

On Friday, FBI agents arrested Mandy Natchi Yagi, 54, and Peter Wong, 43, former San Mateo County employees who allegedly stole assets from the estates of the dead. Sounds like the plot to a great Hitchcock film, right?

Until last year, Yagi and Wong worked as San Mateo deputy public administrators, overseeing the estates of the deceased under their jurisdiction. When people die without a will or without someone willing or able to manage the estate, county employees are supposed to take over, not take everything.

Yagi and Wong overlooked the estates, which, according to federal prosecutors, means protecting the decedent's property from waste, loss, or theft, and conducting investigations to discover the decedent's assets. They're also supposed to liquidate assets for public sale or distribute them to the person's heirs. 

What they're not supposed to do is raid the estates for their own benefit. Yet, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Yagi and Wong used their powerful positions to take cash, financial instruments, bank accounts, and jewelry from the estates they oversaw.

"The indictment charges Yagi and Wong with conspiracy to commit theft from a federally funded program ... and theft concerning a federally funded program," federal prosecutors said in a statement released Friday. 

Both Yagi and Wong were booked into jail on $100,000 bail. They appeared in federal court on Friday and their court date is set for June 27.

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Suzanne Stathatos

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