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San Francisco corruption: Ex-city worker charged with creating fake firm to steal $600,000

The creation of a ghost company to allegedly funnel roughly $600,000 of stolen city funds was intended to cover Stanley Ellicott's tracks, say city officials.

a photo of a man's resume.
Stanley Ellicott worked for the San Francisco Department of Human Resources when he allegedly stole more than half a million dollars. | Source: The Standard

Stanley Ellicott, a former City of San Francisco worker who has already been indicted in a kickback scheme, now faces new charges that he created an elaborate fake company to siphon off more than half a million dollars of city funds into his own pockets.

The new case alleges that Ellicott, who faces 62 felony charges, including money laundering, grand theft and insurance fraud, allegedly stole $627,000 from the city from 2019 to 2024, the District Attorney's Office said in an announcement Thursday.

The new case is the latest recent corruption allegation to besmirch the city's inner workings. Just last week, a four-year prison sentence was handed down to the former San Francisco Public Utilities Commission head for his part in a separate corruption scheme, which was linked to a yearslong series of federal prosecutions.

According to the district attorney, as a Department of Human Resources employee, Ellicott was in charge of certain privileged information regarding workers' compensation claims filed by city employees. In that position, he made payments on those claims, which gave him sole access to a walled-off financial account not reviewed by other city entities. 

Ellicott used his control of that account to tack on payments to the transactions that looked like small fees. But they were paid to a fake company he created. It even had a website with images of staff and contact information. 

The scheme started when Ellicott enlisted a friend to register the fake business in Illinois, according to San Francisco's DA. A bank account was then created for the business. Ellicott added the fake business as a vendor in the workers’ compensation system and billed San Francisco for "more than 600 workers’ compensation claims with charges for auditing services," according to the DA's Office.

City payments to the company were then transferred into Ellicott’s personal checking account to look like they were payroll payments. He transferred more than $488,000 from the fake business's account.

The Illinois business's website was created in Oakland, where Ellicott lives. On several occasions, the company sent emails to Ellicott's work email.

The company, Independent Auditors Group, says on its website that it provides a range of financial services and, with images of its leadership team, appears to be just what it claims.

But the lengths Ellicott went to cover his tracks appear to go far beyond the creation of a simple website.

A photo of a website.
A photo captures the website created for a ghost company created by Stanley Ellicott. | Source: Justin Katigbak/The Standard

The website for that company states, "We know that great people define our success. We employ the best, most talented teams to deliver reliable, knowledgeable accounting and financial services to our clients.”

The company’s website also says it has “presences” in Chicago, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Nashville and lists several employees.

The phone number listed for Megan Klint, the alleged director of Assurance Services, works. A company message asks for an extension among other options, and a virtual assistant voice asks for the caller to wait as it attempts to contact Klint. As you wait, Dave Brubeck's "Take Five" plays in the background.

Klint did not pick up the phone. 

Calling the number listed on the Independent Auditors Group website produces a synthetic voice claiming to be a personal assistant for the leadership.

But it appears at least one of those employees, Louise McFadden, showcased as a company leader, does not work for the entity and may not even exist.

In fact, McFadden is actually Sandy Turner from New Zealand, where she is the sales manager for the Tamahere Country Club, according to its website.

She did not respond to a request for comment. 

Ellicott, 38, was born and raised in Maine and has worked for the city on and off since 2012, according to his resume. He has a master's degree from the University of California Berkeley in public policy and worked for Moody's before getting hired by the city.

Ellicott, who was arrested Thursday morning in Oakland, could not be reached for comment.

Ellicott’s other alleged crimes 

On Jan. 25, Ellicott was charged with eight felony counts over allegations he helped a businessman funnel bribes to a city official in return for favorable treatment. 

That city official, Lanita Henriquez, the former head of San Francisco's Community Challenge Grant Program, was charged last year for allegedly taking bribes from businessman Rudolph Dwayne Jones, who in exchange was awarded contracts by the city. Henriquez has since resigned.

A person in a red blouse is opening a glass door, with another person peeking from behind a yellow door.
Lanita Henriquez walks out of the courtroom after pleading not guilty to allegedly taking bribes at the Hall of Justice in San Francisco on Aug. 31, 2023. | Source: Jonah Owen Lamb/The Standard

According to court documents, the complicated scheme involved bribery in exchange for public contracts overseen by Henriquez, whom Jones once dated. Henriquez, in turn, used family and friends as go-betweens to hide the source of kickbacks, according to court documents.

Ellicott was allegedly also used as an intermediary who funneled bribes between Jones and Henriquez.

The DA alleges the scheme involving Ellicott occurred from May 2017 to July 2021. Ellicott was paid nearly $270,000 in city grant funds by Jones’ company for doing technical work. However, his involvement with that work was never publicly reported. Ellicott then allegedly paid Henriquez, who issued the grants, more than $65,000.

A man walks into a courtroom.
Rudolph Dwayne Jones heads to court in the Hall of Justice in San Francisco on Sept. 1, 2023. | Source: Jonah Owen Lamb/The Standard

Ellicott also allegedly sold thousands of dollars of cameras and electronics on eBay, purchased with grant money issued by Henriquez. But that money had been meant for earthquake supplies for neighborhood groups, according to the affidavit.

The preliminary hearing in the Jones and Henriquez cases is set to begin next week.

Jonah Owen Lamb can be reached at