A court date regarding former Peninsula Symphony Executive Director Stephen Jay Carlton’s arrest for embezzlement has been scheduled May 27 at the Palo Alto Courthouse.
Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Judy Lee said the court date is tentative, noting the cancellation of previous dates in part because of ongoing discussions between Carlton’s counsel and the DA’s Office. Lee said the case remains in the discovery phase but declined to provide more specifics about the substance of her discussions with Carlton’s legal representation.
“We’re still talking with the defense … we’re in discussions,” said Lee, who noted that only Carlton has been charged in the embezzlement case. “At the end of the day, we want a fair resolution for the community, the victims and the defendant.”
The scheduled court date comes after Carlton turned himself in to police in late February following an arrest warrant issued by the DA’s Office for the 45-year-old executive.
The arrest followed a five-month joint investigation by Los Altos Police and the California Franchise Tax Board that determined that Carlton allegedly embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Los Altos-based Peninsula Symphony Orchestra, draining all but a few hundred dollars from a pair of endowment funds.
The investigation revealed that Carlton allegedly forged the signatures of two symphony board members on checks made out to himself, using some of the funds to pay off personal debts. He allegedly took out an unauthorized $25,000 loan on behalf of the organization as well.
Carlton faces charges that include one for grand theft, three for forgery, one for identity theft, one for embezzlement and three for state tax evasion. If convicted on all counts, he could serve a maximum prison sentence of 18 years.
According to San Bernardino County court records, Carlton served prison time in 1993 after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter in the strangulation death of his 20-year-old wife, Shelley Roberts Carlton.
He remains jailed in lieu of $150,000 bail.
– Diego Abeloos