Former City Employee Danny Wooten Convicted of More Than 50 Criminal Counts Related to Embezzlement of Public Funds

Wooten's co-defendant Tyron Collins was convicted of 20 counts

Published : Tuesday, November 6, 2018 | 3:21 PM

Danny Wooten

[Updated] Danny Ray Wooten, 55, a former management analyst in Pasadena’s Public Works Department who masterminded a ten-year, multi-million dollar embezzlement scheme, was convicted by a jury today of more than 50 criminal counts related to defrauding the City out of over $6 million in public funds.

Wooten was ordered remanded into custody with sentencing set for January 11.

Spokesman Greg Risling of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said Wooten was found guilty of 53 charges including embezzlement, conflict of interest, and misappropriation of public funds, and faces a maximum of 24 years in prison.

Wooten funneled some of the stolen money to co-defendant Tyrone Collins, 59, who owns Collins Electric, the prosecutor said.

Collins was convicted today of 20 counts and those counts included embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds, said Risling. Collins faces up to 15 years in prison.

Wooten also created bank accounts purporting to represent two religious organizations. However, he was the only person on the account, the prosecutor said.

The scheme was discovered in 2014 when the City ordered an audit.

According to Risling, the jury deliberated for three days before reaching the verdicts.

Both men had been free on bond pending trial, but were immediately taken into custody without bail following Tuesday’s guilty verdicts, according to Los Angeles County booking records.

Reacting, Mayor Terry Tornek said in a statement, “The City of Pasadena appreciates the work of the District Attorney’s Office in bringing an embezzler of public money to justice. Danny Wooten, the lone City employee involved in a scheme which embezzled $6.4 million from the taxpayers, has now been convicted and will likely serve jail time for this crime.”

“Thankfully,” Tornek added, “Pasadena’s citizens were made whole by insurance proceeds which covered the loss with a cash payment to the City. There have been significant changes in strengthening internal financial controls so that this cannot happen again.”

City Manager Steve Mermell, in an email to City employees today, added, “I want to thank those City employees who testified in this case and helped bring Mr. Wooten’s despicable acts to justice. Today’s conviction, along with the full recovery of City funds through insurance and settlements with the City’s prior auditors, will help bring closure to this sad chapter.”

Mermell continued, “We must never forget the lessons learned by this experience. We have implemented new systems and procedures to safeguard public funds, and we have greatly improved our internal audit function. Nevertheless, the most important component is the trustworthiness of our valued employees and their vigilance in reporting any suspected wrongdoing by others.”


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