Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price Announces $330,000 Settlement in a Business Embezzlement Case

February 28, 2024

Oakland, CA— Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price announces a $330,000 plea bargain negotiated by the District Attorney’s Consumer Justice Bureau (CJB) in an embezzlement case against defendant Yolanda Cheers, also known as Yolanda Brown. The facts of the case showed that Cheers held prominent positions of trust, which included overseeing finances within two businesses. The complaint involved allegations of Cheers using her positions to pay herself unauthorized bonuses.

The investigation revealed that in late November 2016, an accountant at the National Equity Project discovered that the controller of the accounting department, Yolanda Cheers, who managed the business finances, had made two separate unauthorized transfers to herself from the non- profit’s PayPal account totaling $4,000.00. A police report was filed, and Cheers was terminated from her employment.

In August 2019, twelve felony charges were filed against Cheers after she was caught attempting to acquire an unauthorized loan in the name of BMWL & Partners. Upon further investigation, the business discovered that the defendant paid herself several bonuses and made several unauthorized credit card purchases, including a $10,000 trip to a vineyard.

Cheers was charged with six felony counts of Grand Theft by Embezzlement, three felony counts of Forgery, two Felony counts of Identity theft, and one felony count of Preparing False Documentary Evidence. A negotiated plea deal was reached whereby Cheers pled guilty to Felony Grand Theft by embezzlement and agreed to repay the business victims a total of $330,000. Deputy District Attorney Larnell France negotiated the deal and Cheers brought two cashier’s checks to court on the date of her plea: one in the amount of $329,000 payable to BMWL & Partners and a second check in the amount of $1,000 payable to the National Equity Project.

“Embezzlement is a violation of trust and a serious threat to the survival of our local businesses.  This type of theft often causes a business to be mired in debt,” said District Attorney Pamela Price. “I commend the work of Deputy District Attorney Larnell France, who, within five months of taking on this assignment, successfully litigated and settled this case. This case was initially charged over five years ago by my predecessor and languished for years. As someone who joined our new administration in 2023, Larnell obviously brings tremendous value and commitment to the residents of Alameda County. The $330,000 Deputy District Attorney France recovered was greatly appreciated by the business owners.”