A 70-year-old certified public accountant from El Cajon was sentenced Friday to five years in state prison for stealing more than $600,000 from two clients.
Stephen Edward Smith was also fined $500 by San Diego Superior Court Judge J. Richard Haden, who rejected a plea for probation by Smith's attorney.
Afterward, Smith's wife began shrieking hysterically outside the courtroom, attracting numerous bailiffs who tried to calm her.
Smith pleaded guilty May 5 to two counts of grand theft and one forgery charge stemming from losses discovered at Aerospace Supply Inc. and Julius Hofer & Sons Inc., where Smith worked as an accountant.
"This case is really aggravated. He took over $600,000," argued Deputy Dist. Atty. Don Canning. "Not only did he steal, he set up a phony bank account."