Petaluma woman indicted on federal charges of fraud, embezzlement and tax evasion

The defendant is accused of embezzling more than $800,000 from two employers. She was arrested Friday.|

An accountant from Petaluma has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of bank fraud, embezzlement and tax evasion.

Stephanie Simontacchi, 48, is accused of using her position to victimize two former employers and is suspected of embezzling at least $821,363, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday.

She was arrested June 25 and was indicted on seven counts of bank fraud, seven counts of misapplication and embezzlement of credit union funds and four counts of tax evasion.

Simontacchi was arraigned on Monday in federal court and her next appearance is set for July 15.

Simontacchi is accused of embezzling at least $384,363 in funds from or owed to Cavallo Point Lodge, a hotel near Sausalito, during her employment, which was December 2009 to April 2016, according to the DOJ.

She worked as a bookkeeper and assistant controller and had access to accounting records and systems and “also had signatory authority over Cavallo Point Lodge’s bank accounts, which gave her authority to create and sign checks from the hotel’s bank accounts and to pay the hotel’s legitimate payments and obligations,” according to the DOJ.

Simontacchi allegedly embezzled funds by stealing checks from third parties and deposited them into her personal bank account. She’s also accused of depositing checks the hotel made to third parties.

From April 2016 to April 2019, Simontacchi worked for Redwood Credit Union as a senior accountant and accounting manager. She is accused of embezzling $437,000 from this business.

While there, her responsibilities included processing voided checks and communicating with a vendor regarding issues related to funding and voiding of these checks.

According to the DOJ, Simontacchi also had access to checks intended for and made payable to the credit union.

That was discovered during a 2019 internal review and reported to authorities, according to Ron Felder, the credit union’s chief financial and risk officer.

“No losses were incurred by any RCU members as a result of the fraudulent activity,” he said in a statement. “We have further strengthened our systems and processes to prevent future incidents of this nature.”

Simontacchi is also accused of embezzling checks, including reimbursement checks from the U.S. Treasury Department and the state of California.

Authorities said the embezzled proceeds were used for personal expenses, which included payments put toward a home equity line of credit, according to the DOJ.

Simontacchi also is accused of failing to pay taxes on additional, unreported income in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

You can reach Staff Writer Colin Atagi at On Twitter @colin_atagi

North Bay Business Journal contributed to this report.

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