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Posted at 12:22 PM ET, 12/12/2012

Former Clyde’s controller sentenced to two years in prison in embezzlement scheme

The former controller of the Clyde’s Restaurant Group, operator of a number of high-visibility area restarants, was sentenced to two years in prison Wednesday after admitting to embezzling nearly $650,000 from the company over 10 years.

Nancy Preston, 55, pleaded guilty in September to felony mail fraud. She admitted to stealing roughly $647,000, using company credit cards and company checks to pay for personal expenses such as limousines, parties, facial treatments and five-star meals, according to court documents.

“They trusted her to be their watchdog,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Virginia Cheatham. “She used that unfettered discretion to enrich herself.”

Defense attorney Jonathan Shapiro acknowledged what he called Preston’s “horrible breach of trust.”

A tearful Preston, who rose up the company’s ranks from bartender to corporate controller during a three-decade career, said during a brief statement in the District’s federal court that she had considered Clyde’s a family during a brief statement Wednesday.

“That’s all gone,” she said.

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras ordered Preston to pay $239,000 in restitution. She had already turned over $258,000 in company stock and paid another $150,000 in restitution.

In sentencing Preston, Contreras noted that her scheme lasted years and might have continued if a co-worker had not reported her.

In addition to several Clyde’s restaurants, the company operates 1789 Restaurant and The Tombs in Georgetown, The Old Ebbitt Grill and The Hamilton.

This item has been updated.

By  |  12:22 PM ET, 12/12/2012

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