Laura Farinella
Chief of Police
505 Forest Avenue
Laguna Beach, CA 92651


Subject :Fraud arrest
Contact :Sergeant Jim Cota, Public Information Officer    949-494-6671


On March 17, 2016, Economic Crimes Detectives opened a fraud investigation into a former employee of Laguna Nursery, who was accused of embezzling money from the business.  Laguna Nursery is a landscaping and garden business in Laguna Beach.

The year-long investigation revealed Christine Black, 47, devised and executed a scheme to obtain money from Laguna Nursery by issuing checks to herself and reporting the checks as payments for various vendors.  Through her fraudulent activity, Black embezzled over $65,000.00.

The investigation also revealed Black was on probation for a similar case in Rockingham County, North Carolina.  In that case, Black worked for Sharon K. Hopper Fine Gardening and in a similar scheme, embezzled approximately $100,000.00.  On July 5, 2017, Black pled guilty to 38 felony counts of forgery and identity theft in Harbor Court.  Black was sentenced to 16 months in jail, restitution, and is scheduled to be extradited to North Carolina at the conclusion of this case.

“This case is yet another reminder that when you victimize small business owners and innocent people in our city, the Laguna Beach Police Department will investigate it thoroughly and bring in the resources necessary to work toward successful prosecution of the case,” said Sgt. Jim Cota, Laguna Beach Police Department Investigations Division.

This case was prosecuted by Senior Deputy District Attorney, Marc Labreche of the Major Fraud Unit.  For further information, please contact Sergeant Jim Cota at (949) 464-6671 or