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The owner of a bounce house business in California has been convicted of embezzling more than half a million dollars from a friend while she was in rehab for a meth addiction.
While his friend sought treatment, Vincent Robert Eppstein, 49, of San Jose, managed to embezzle and squander more than $600,000 designated for the care of his friend's ailing mother.
Eppstein spent literally all of his friend's savings -- down to her last 60 cents, for which he wrote a check to himself and filled out the memo line with: "Have a nice life."
But those four little words cost him, big time.
What Is Embezzlement?
Embezzlement is the theft or larceny of assets, such as money or property, by a person placed in a position of trust, responsibility or authority over such assets.
In this case, Eppstein was entrusted with his friend's finances while she went into rehab for three years, reports the San Jose Mercury News.
While she was away, Eppstein spent about $630,000 on Harley Davidson motorcycles, a fleet of Segways, a Rolex watch and a $15,000 diamond ring. He also treated himself to luxury vacations in Hawaii, Las Vegas, and Florida, and even bought tickets for a friend to visit Brazil.
People assume embezzlement only occurs in employment and corporate settings. Sadly, it's often those we trust most.
"It's a sad but sobering truth that in many embezzlement cases it is friends and family who take advantage of their positions of trust," prosecutor Victor Chen said in a statement. "Pay attention. Be involved. If you are unable to manage your own finances, consider hiring a professional."
Sadly, the victim in this case never picked up on the warnings signs of embezzlement. Before she knew it, everything was gone.
Fortunately, Eppstein's hubris cost him in the end. To successfully prosecute someone for embezzlement, it must be proved the defendant's actions were intentional.
Remember that little one-liner on the check? Well, that "Have a nice life" jab ended up helping the prosecution prove Eppstein's embezzlement was intentional, according to the Mercury News.
As he's been convicted of three counts of grand theft and one count of fraud against a dependent adult, which are all felonies in California, Eppstein now faces up to 11 years in prison.
Hey Eppstein: "Have a nice life."