Former biologist admits to embezzling more than $230K from San Diego Zoo

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) — A former biologist at the San Diego Zoo pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing more than $236,000 from the zoo by cashing payments for false invoices he created.

Matthew John Anderson, 49, of Ramona, admitted that over the course of eight years, he presented 35 false invoices from “various purported vendors” to the zoo, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The zoo sent payments to accounts he controlled or other third parties, who sent the bulk of the payments to Anderson, prosecutors said.

Anderson worked at the zoo for more than 17 years and served as the director of behavioral biology for the zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research. The zoo terminated his employment in late 2017, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

He’s slated to be sentenced June 8.

“We will hold accountable those who seek to steal and defraud, including all those who selfishly steal from our cherished San Diego institutions,” U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer said.

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