READING, CALIFORNIA – A case against a Palo Cedro woman arrested late last year on suspicion of embezzling more than $12,000 from a Redding printing company, where she worked as a bookkeeper, was dismissed this week in Shasta County Superior Court.
Felony counts of embezzlement and grand theft that were filed in January against Lisa Gale Rayl, 59, were thrown out Monday by the district attorney’s office after additional financial documents were reviewed and further witnesses interviewed.
It was that extra information that convinced prosecutors they would be unable to obtain unanimous guilty verdicts against her, Chief Deputy District Attorney Josh Lowery said Thursday.
“It led us to believe the case could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said.
He also voiced strong doubt over whether the charges might be refiled in the future.
“I don’t see a scenario where the charges will be refiled,” he said.
Rayl’s Redding defense attorney, Joe Gazzigli, could not be reached Thursday or Friday to discuss the case.
But, she and her husband wrote in an email Friday, the case should never have been filed.
Rayl’s husband, Tim, said in his email that he and his wife, who also had her $10,000 bail bond exonerated, are relieved that the case is over and that “the truth prevailed.”
“Lisa did not embezzle anything,” her husband wrote. “The D.A. was misled by false and inaccurate information gathered by a substandard and incomplete police investigation. The police never talked to Lisa, they never interviewed her to get her side of the story.”
Instead, he said, she was handcuffed and arrested following a car stop and taken to RPD headquarters where she was interrogated.
“Lisa had no prior record of any kind, but was treated like America’s most wanted,” Tim Rayl said.
Lisa Rayl was arrested in December by Redding police after then Deputy District Attorney Erin Dervin, who now works for a Sacramento law firm, said a police investigation revealed she had improperly stopped deducting her share of health insurance premiums from her paychecks between 2008 to late 2010, thereby boosting her take home pay.
Rayl, who worked for the company for more than 12 years, was fired from her job after it discovered the alleged thefts and contacted Redding police.
But Tim Rayl said his wife had no signatory authority with the company. He said the business contacted police because it had filed an insurance claim for the money and were told they would need a police report to get paid.
According to a prior statement made by Dervin, Lisa Rayl denied any wrongdoing after being confronted by police, saying the “company let her do it.”
“Lisa did have permission,” her husband maintained in his email. “She had three conversations with Ken Peterson, the owner, and he gave permission.”
Peterson declined Friday to publicly discuss the case.
In his email, Rayl said he and his wife, who faced a maximum three-year jail sentence had she been tried and convicted, are grateful the ordeal is over.
“We are focusing on healing and resting,” he wrote.