Genesis CEO Jailed

March 30, 2009 6:21:08 PM PDT
A judge convicted Elaine Bernard of grand theft for stealing money from Genesis Group Homes. Monday morning, officers arrested Bernard for violating her probation. The judge made himself very clear when he told Bernard not to attend social events. Bernard was serving three years probation. But a published photograph surfaced that could send the CEO to prison.

Elaine Bernard's troubles started with the April edition of "Imagine Fresno" magazine. Under the society section, a series of pictures are posted. They were taken in February at a Downtown Fresno building. Wine, food and music filled the free event to highlight art and at-risk youth. In the magazine, a photograph shows Bernard posing at the reception. But just three months ago a judge placed Bernard on near house arrest.

She was convicted of grand theft accused of stealing thousands of dollars from genesis group homes. The judge ordered Bernard to remain home at all times. But the judge allowed Bernard to go to work Monday-Friday 9 AM - 7 PM and a short period on Saturday. The judge also stressed no social events. Investigators believe the picture is proof Bernard violated her probation.

ABC 30 Legal Analyst Tony Capozzi said this isn't a clear cut violation. Capozzi said, "But if you look a little further, she's at a function that is dealing with at risk youth. Her business is related to that. So, I think she may a very good argument that is at something that is work related."

Bernard's attorney Doug Foster issued a written statement: "Elaine has done nothing wrong. We are confident that the judge will agree. This is just further evidence of the DA's office being unable to accept the judge's sentence and let go. "

A witness also spotted Bernard at a party in a North Fresno office building. Investigators learned Bernard may have attended a Saint Patrick's Day event at the law firm.

Bernard will now appear before the same judge who sentenced her. That hearing could happen as soon as Thursday. The judge can make a large range of decisions from no punishment to time in prison.

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