A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

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Holzworth May Have Taken $1 Million, Spent Money on Gambling, Vacations, Other Vices


Two police officers familiar with the Jeffrey Holzworth investigation claim they believe Jeff and Karen Holzworth embezzled money in excess of $1 million – though he’s charged with taking less than $300,000 – from SRJC parking pay stations.

The officers, who wish to remain anonymous, sourced facts from the police report and the investigators themselves. SRJC is the victim, and both officers are concerned that SRJC’s Board of Trustees may simply slap Jeff Holzworth on the wrist for his admitted involvement in swindling the district out of what Santa Rosa Deputy District Attorney Ami Ariyoshi said she can prove exceeds $287,000. Ariyoshi’s figures date back to January, 2005; Holzworth was the sole officer collecting parking revenue for several years before that.

Holzworth pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of receiving stolen property over $400 and one count of embezzlement with a special enhancement for amounts in excess of $150,000 at his arraignment Feb. 20.

Both Holzworths appeared at his arraignment, where defense attorney Joe Passalacqua said Jeff, the most senior police officer in the district until his retirement on Dec 31, 2012, “has accepted responsibility. He’s adamant that his wife had no involvement.”

A settlement conference for both Holzworths will be held at 8:30 a.m. March 13 in Department 9 in the Sonoma County Hall of Justice.

Ariyoshi said although she doesn’t know what deal she will offer yet, but the Holzworths will both have to accept or their cases will go to a joint preliminary hearing.

The anonymous officers suspect both of the Holzworths had a gambling problem and know they spent much of their vacation time in Las Vegas.

The money “was spent on things like going to River Rock Casino,” Ariyoshi said. A source close to the family, who also wanted to remain anonymous, confirmed the officers’ suspicions that both Holzworths have serious gambling addictions.

Santa Rosa Police Department detective Mark Azzouni’s search warrant affidavit notes paperwork found in the Hozworths’ recycling bin in front of their house shows he may have been involved with gambling on NFL Football games. The court affidavit reveals that Azzouni found printouts of Week numbers 10, 11 and 12 notating wins and losses.

It is also apparent Jeff Holzworth spent leisure time visiting with prostitutes. “The first night they surveyed him, they watched him visit prostitutes on Santa Rosa Avenue,” said one of the officers.

The affidavit backs this claim with details of an incident on Nov. 13, 2012, in which detectives tailing Holzworth watched him go into a motel room with a known prostitute and emerge an hour later. Detectives interviewed the prostitute after Holzworth left.

The officer explained that SRJC district police officers were suspicious of Jeff Holzworth because he would eat at Lita’s restaurant every day and pay in $1 bills every single time.

In the affidavit, detectives said they saw Holzworth throw receipts from the parking pay stations into trashcans on campus. The receipts showed the amounts in the machine at the time. They also followed him to two different credit unions where he deposited stacks of $1 and $5 bills and rolls of quarters into accounts in his or his wife’s name and then removed the same amount in larger denominations of cash. Receipts detectives found of deposits between Nov. 21 and Nov. 26, 2012 show Holzworth exchanging smaller bills for $2000 in cash.

An SRPD SWAT member said he personally carried duffle bags of coins out of the Holzworth residence but would not speculate on the overall amount found at the home.

“$287,000 just includes the figures in the bank accounts or what he changed into higher denominations. They can’t prove whether or not he bought his new truck or his wife’s [new model] car with the stolen cash,” one of the officers said. “There’s not one officer in the district that suspects he stole less than $1 million. [SRPD] saw so much that all of the suspicions were confirmed. The Board of Trustees needs to know about this.”

About the Contributor
Drew Sheets, Staff Writer