A Marina del Rey woman who was charged with grand theft and filing a false tax return has been sentenced to 16 months in state prison.

Carla Gireaux, 62, a former contract therapist with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, pleaded guilty March 25th to one count each of grand theft of personal property and filing a false tax return, deputy district attorney Juliet Schmidt of the Public Integrity Division said.

Gireaux, a licensed marriage and family therapist, was charged last month in a felony complaint following an investigation by the district attorneyís Bureau of Investigation, the Franchise Tax Board, the California Department of Justice and the Los Angeles County Office of the Auditor Controller, Schmidt said.

An investigation by Franchise Tax Board agents further revealed that Gireaux filed false tax returns and, in one instance, failed to file a tax return altogether, she said.

The therapist billed the county for mental health services never rendered, and after 25 of Gireauxís patients were interviewed by investigators, they determined there was a loss of $76,469 to the county, district attorney spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales said.

Based on the defendantís total client population of 196 people, a statistician calculated the total loss at more than $593,000. At sentencing, Gireaux was ordered to pay restitution in that amount to the county and she was additionally ordered to pay the Franchise Tax Board $112,272, Davila-Morales said.

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