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Serna-Mayorga Sentenced to Nine Months in Jail after Pleading Guilty to Felony



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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, March 11, 2013
District Attorney Jan Scully announced today that 40-year-old Belisa Serna-Mayorga pled 
guilty to felony misappropriation of public funds. Serna-Mayorga was formerly the council 
operations manager for the Office of the Mayor of the City of Sacramento. 
Serna-Mayorga was entrusted with a Sacramento City bank purchasing card to be used solely 
for City business. From July 2009 to June 2012, Serna-Mayorga used the card for personal 
items totaling over $19,000. Among the illegal charges were two Disneyland trips for her and 
her family in December of 2010 and June of 2012; hotels in Bodega Bay and Monterey; 
clothing; makeup; restaurants; grocery bills; and numerous iTunes games, music, movies, and 
entertainment applications. 
In June of 2012, when an internal audit revealed Serna-Mayorga had not been submitting the 
required paperwork documenting her purchases, she admitted that numerous charges were 
personal. She wrote checks to the City of Sacramento for reimbursement; however, she 
stopped payment on those checks before the City could submit them for deposit. The 
investigation found that for some of the accounting documents she had submitted to justify her 
purchases, the signature of the mayor's chief of staff, Kunal Merchant, was forged. 
Serna-Mayorga was sentenced to nine months in the county jail, and five years of probation. 
She can apply to the Sheriff's Department for a work-release program. She was ordered to 
pay $19,043.29 to the City of Sacramento in restitution. This conviction cannot be reduced to a 
misdemeanor and disqualifies her for life from holding any public office in this state. 
Click to view the complaint and arrest warrant affidavit. 
Serna-Mayorga was formerly the council operations manager for the Office of the Mayor of the City of Sacramento. 
 
From July 2009 to June 2012, Serna-Mayorga used a City-issued credit card for personal items totaling over $19,000. According to the Sacramento County District Attorney's office, among the illegal charges were: "two Disneyland trips for her and her family in December of 2010 and June of 2012; hotels in Bodega Bay and Monterey; clothing; makeup; restaurants; grocery bills; and numerous iTunes games, music, movies, and entertainment applications."
 
In June of 2012, an internal audit revealed Serna-Mayorga had not been submitting the required paperwork documenting her purchases.
 
She admitted that several charges were not for City use, and then compounded her legal problems by writing bad checks to cover the amount.
 
An investigation found the signature of the mayor's chief of staff, Kunal Merchant, was forged on some documents submitted as part of her effort to cover up the expenses. 
 
After Serna-Mayorga serves her sentence, she will be on probation for five years. 
She can apply to the Sheriff's Department for a work-release program.
 
She was ordered to pay $19,043.29 to the City of Sacramento in restitution.
 
Her conviction cannot be reduced to a misdemeanor and it prevents her from holding any public office in California.  Her brother is Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna.  Her father is the late mayor of Sacramento, Joe Serna.
 
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