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News Release: Former Seeno Construction Executive Found Guilty of Embezzlement, Filing False Tax Ret

MARTINEZ — A former high-ranking Seeno executive was convicted of stealing $344,000 from his ex-employers, money prosecutors say was used in part to pay off massive gambling debts.
Edward Leroy Miller, 66, was convicted by jury trial Friday of grand theft by embezzlement and tax evasion. The money was taken over time, funneled from lawsuit settlement fundings into a company Miller surreptitiously started without his employers’ permission, prosecutors said.
Miller faces up to one and a half years in jail or prison, or he could be sentenced to probation without confinement, depending on how the judge rules.
At the time of the offenses, Miller was the chief risk officer for Seeno Construction, a prominent development company based in California and Nevada, which originated in Contra Costa County. The investigation into Miller’s finances started when Albert Seeno Jr., the patriarch of the Seeno family, tipped off authorities that Miller had been caught siphoning money Seeno Construction received from lawsuit settlements.
“White collar crime is inherently complex, and this jury was willing to tackle a thorny body of evidence that wasn’t always straightforward,” deputy district attorney Adam Wilks said in a news release. “This jury had to follow money moving across multiple bank accounts, and had to listen to testimony about issues of civil litigation, business formation, and interpersonal dealings within a corporate structure. The verdict in this case speaks volumes about our community, and specifically to those who sacrificed their time to be on this jury, have the sincere thanks of the Contra Costa County DA’s Office.”
In a separate news release, through his attorney Dirk Manoukian, Seeno Jr. thanked Wilks’ “tireless” efforts in prosecuting the case.
“The time and effort the ladies and gentlemen of the criminal trial jury spent listening to the evidence, deliberating, and returning verdicts of guilt is also greatlyappreciated,” the Seeno press release says. “However, Mr. Albert D. Seeno, Jr., and the members of his organization take no satisfaction in a verdict that only reemphasizes the violation of trust which was so upsetting to many within the organization’s teams that worked with Mr. Miller.”
According to prosecutors, Miller would siphon money intended to settle routine lawsuits between Seeno Construction and various contracting companies. His scheme was brought to light when he went on vacation and his colleagues discovered he’d created a company called Intera Risk & Insurance Services LLC, without his bosses’ permission.
Miller’s attorney, Christopher Varnell, argued during trial that the funds were legitimate reimbursements and that Miller had been a trusted executive who saved the company “tons” of money during his tenure. Varnell did not immediately return an email seeking comment.
Miller is set to be sentenced Sept. 13 at 1:30 p.m., by Judge Rebecca Hardie, in Dept. 5 of the AF Bray Courthouse in Martinez.
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