REDWOOD CITY -- Former Clayton City Councilman Joe Medrano was placed in handcuffs Friday morning after a judge sentenced him to three years in jail for embezzling $159,000 from an insurance client.
Medrano will have to serve 18 months of the sentence in San Mateo County jail, at which point he will be eligible for supervised probation. The 48-year-old insurance broker wore a look of resignation as a sheriff's deputy escorted him out of the courtroom.
San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Jonathan Karesh said he found Medrano's lack of remorse for the crime "extraordinarily troubling." The judge said the evidence at trial clearly disproved Medrano's claim that he didn't know he was breaking the law when he kept a payment from Redwood City client iPass rather than forward it to Travelers Insurance.
"This was not a procedural mistake," Karesh said. "This was a theft and a scheme, pure and simple."
Deputy District Attorney Sharron Lee argued that Medrano's sole regret was being caught, tried and convicted.
"The only sympathy the defendant has expressed," Lee said, "is to himself, his family and his town."
Karesh denied the request of Medrano's attorney, Matthew Oliveri, that the defendant be spared jail time so as to provide for his teenage daughter and work off the money he owes his victims.
The issue of restitution to iPass and Travelers Insurance was put off until a hearing Feb. 1. Karesh brushed aside the suggestion by Oliveri that the defendant be allowed to keep his commission on the money he was convicted of stealing.
Oliveri said after the hearing that iPass fired Medrano shortly after providing the disputed payments. Medrano held onto the money because he believed the two parties would wind up in court fighting over it, said Oliveri, adding Medrano will "go to his grave" believing he was entitled to a commission on the sum.
Oliveri said Medrano, who stepped down from the Clayton council in October, plans to appeal his conviction.
Contact Aaron Kinney at 650-348-4357. Follow him at Twitter.com/kinneytimes.