WOODLAND -- A Brentwood couple have pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $100,000 from a Davis-based business, the Yolo County District Attorney's office announced Friday.

Yolo County Superior Court Judge Stephen L. Mock is expected to sentence Benjamin Joseph Chaney, 32, to five years in state prison, while giving his wife, 43-year-old Kara Leigh Brown, probation, as part of the plea agreements, Yolo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Raven said.

Chaney pleaded guilty on Jan. 11 to embezzling between $100,000 to $500,000 from Harper's Model Home Maintenance in Davis from 2003-07, after earlier this month pleading guilty to multiple theft-related felonies and felony tax evasion, Raven said. Brown pleaded guilty on Jan. 11 to being an accessory to a felony and agreed to pay $340,000 in restitution as part of her sentence, Raven said.

According to Raven, Chaney was the Chief Financial Officer for the company, which specialized in model home cleaning. The Harper family, which owned the store, hired Chaney, then their son-in-law, for various management positions before promoting him.

Chaney admitted he began stealing from the company in 2003 by writing checks and using a company credit card on various personal items, including gifts, child-support payments, electronics, computers and home mortgage payments. Chaney left the company in November 2007, Raven said, after which a review of his company computer revealed that he had started a competing business using funds from the Harpers' business.


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A Yolo County grand jury indicted the couple on March 20, 2010. Brown was Chaney's second wife and became involved in the criminal acts from 2005 to 2007, Raven said.

Rick Hurd covers crime. Contact him in Antioch at 925-779-7166 and follow him at Twitter.com/3rdERH.