Preliminary hearing in Jack’s embezzlement case set for Dec. 6

A preliminary hearing for a Loma Portal woman who has pled not guilty to stealing more than $3 million from Jack’s La Jolla where she worked as a bookkeeper has been rescheduled for Dec. 6.

Tara Virginia Moore, 39, faces more than 10 years in prison if convicted of grand theft and embezzlement.

Bill Mitchell, deputy district attorney, said Moore’s preliminary hearing, originally set for Nov. 10, was postponed to allow time to sort through evidence.

“There is a lot of discovery (evidence sharing) going on and we’re still in the process of getting in boxes and boxes — 8 so far — full of records that provide the basis of the case,” Mitchell said.

Moore’s attorney, Paul Pfingst, former San Diego County District Attorney, said the prosecution at the Dec. 6 preliminary hearing will have to show “a reasonable suspicion” that a crime has taken place, in order for the judge to order a trial.

Should a trial be ordered, Pfingst said it would likely start in mid-2012, as both attorneys in the case have other trial commitments that will likely impact scheduling.

Moore — who filed for bankruptcy in 2009 — was identified as a suspect in the case during a year-long investigation into extensive monetary losses at Jack’s La Jolla, a high-end, restaurant-bar that closed in August 2009. Moore worked for the Girard Avenue nightclub for about four years, beginning in 2005.

The alleged fraud came to light when the owner of Jack’s, Bill Berkley, hired a forensic accountant to examine the restaurant’s financial records dating back to 2003. The matter was then turned over to police.

Previously, Pfingst submitted statements from witnesses in court who said it was well-known that Moore was supporting Jack’s from life insurance proceeds she received after her husband died. Pfingst said Moore lost more than $2 million of her own money.

Mitchell countered that the money Moore was “loaning” was actually money she had misappropriated from Jack’s.