Monterey County

Woman who stole $800k from Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute sentenced to federal prison

SAN JOSE, Calif. - An Arkansas woman has been sentenced to 19 months in federal prison for defrauding the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute out of nearly $800,000.

Lisa McMahon pleaded guilty in March to one count of defrauding MBARI, a nonprofit research and education center in Moss Landing.

Monday, McMahon was sentenced in federal court to more than a year and half in prison, and ordered to pay $798,469.20 in restitution.

McMahon previously was employed by MBARI as a payroll specialist. According to her admissions in court, from at least 2005 until January 2012, she altered payroll records to conceal payments to her personal accounts. She transferred nearly $800,000 in MBARI funds to her own coffers, according to federal prosecutors.

McMahon will be subject to three years of supervised release after she gets out of prison. She's prohibited from maintaining a position of fiduciary capacity without prior permission from probation, and she may not have contact with MBARI.

McMahon, a resident of Moutnain View, Arkansas, was indicted on multiple charges in 2013. KION's story on the indictment is here.

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