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Paso Robles woman sent to prison for embezzlement

Posted at 4:21 PM, Feb 04, 2019

A Paso Robles woman was sentenced Monday to five years in prison for stealing money from an elderly couple.

Diana Russell, 43, embezzled nearly $500,000 from Sandra and Ole Viborg.

On Monday, Judge Craig van Rooyen handed down the prison term while Sandra Viborg, 80, reportedly watched in the San Luis Obispo courtroom.

According to a press release from the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office, Russell stole from the Viborgs between July 2015 and June 2018 while she was employed as an assistant and bookkeeper.

Because the Viborgs were both over the age of 65 at the time, Russell faced additional charges.

“The breach of trust that occurs in cases like this is far-reaching and profound,” said San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow. “It is particularly devastating for elder victims who are vulnerable and rely on someone like Russell to help them manage their affairs.”

At the sentencing hearing, Debbie Viborg, Sandra and Ole’s daughter-in-law, described Russell as someone who had been “treated like family, attended family functions and was trusted like family,” and that her “betrayal has permeated our lives,” according to the press release.

Viborg noted that, at the time of Ole’s death in September 2016, Russell was present and grieving with the family as they made funeral arrangements, yet two days later bought an expensive diamond ring using money she stole from the Viborgs.

A hearing to determine the amount of money owed as restitution will be held on May 6, 2019.