By Scott Schwebke / Staff Writer
Published: April 27, 2016
Updated:   April 28, 2016 – 7:12 a.m.

PLACENTIA – Placentia’s chief financial officer announced her resignation Wednesday amid a criminal investigation into a co-worker’s suspected theft of $4.3 million in municipal funds.

Linda Magnuson will voluntarily step down Sunday.

“Ms. Magnuson has elected to resign in recognition of the importance to this community that the investigation regarding the alleged misappropriation of public funds is done with complete transparency and objectivity,” City Administrator Damien R. Arrula said in a statement.

“Given the circumstances, she understands that it would be difficult to achieve these objectives were she to remain in the role of chief financial officer,” he said.

Larry Schroeder has been named as Placentia’s interim chief financial officer. He has served as the finance director for several cities and will assist with the ongoing investigation, Arrula said.

Magnuson will not be eligible for severance pay because she voluntarily resigned, Arrula said. She is paid $150,882 annually.

At City Hall, Magnuson, 63, declined comment except to say, “It’s been good working for the city.”

Michael Minh Nguyen, 34, the city’s former finance services manager who worked for Magnuson, faces 17 felony counts of misappropriating public funds allegedly through a series of wire transfers that began in April 2015 and ended this month. Of the $4.3 million, at least $1.5 million has been recovered.

Nguyen, No. 2 in the Finance Department, was being held in Orange County’s Central Men’s Jail on $4.3 million bail.

Arrula, in the statement, said there is no reason to believe Magnuson had any involvement in the alleged embezzlement, adding she has fully participated with the investigation.

“Ms. Magnuson recognizes the city’s need to move forward and, as a financial professional with over 30 years of municipal government experience, is doing her part to meet that need,” he said. “Linda has been a valuable member of our team since joining the city in 2014 and has been instrumental in improving the city’s financial condition.”

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