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Ex-Pasadena City Official, Contractor Convicted of Embezzling More Than $3 Million From City

A jury convicted a former Pasadena city employee and a contractor Tuesday of dozens of crimes for their roles in embezzling more than $3.5 million from the city over a 10-year period, authorities said.

Danny Wooten, 55, was convicted of 53 counts, including embezzlement, conflict of interest and misappropriation of  public funds, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a written statement. He served as a management analyst in Pasadena’s Public Works Department during the decade-long theft, which took place between 2004 and 2014.

Co-defendant Tyrone Collins, 59, who owns Collins Electric, was found guilty of 20 counts including embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds.

The embezzlement was first discovered after the city ordered an audit in 2014.

In his position, Wooten was responsible for a program to move the city’s utility lines underground, officials said.

“Wooten created false invoiced for the underground utility program and stole roughly $3.5 million,” the district attorney’s office statement said. “He funneled some of the stolen money to Collins.”

In support of the scheme, officials said Wooten created bank accounts which he claimed represented two religious organizations, prosecutors said. But he was the only person on the accounts.

Wooten and Collins are both scheduled to return to Los Angeles County Superior Court for sentencing on Jan. 11, prosecutors said.

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.

Wooten faces up to 24 years in state prison, while Collins faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.