Crime

Former Yosemite Bank manager pleads guilty in embezzlement case

Madera County Bass Lake Superior Court is scheduled to be closed on Nov. 30, but the Eastern Madera County Bar Association is making an effort to combat the closure.
Madera County Bass Lake Superior Court is scheduled to be closed on Nov. 30, but the Eastern Madera County Bar Association is making an effort to combat the closure. Sierra Star archive

Former Yosemite Bank manager Donald Eaves pleaded guilty to four counts of grand theft Thursday at the Bass Lake courthouse.

Madera County Superior Court Judge Charles A. Wieland ordered Eaves back in court on July 12 for sentencing.

Wieland said each felony count carries three years in prison, but he would take into consideration statements by family or community members before the next hearing which could reduce Eaves' sentence.

Eaves, 53, of Coarsegold initially faced 32 counts of grand theft and embezzlement, but after a plea agreement he pleaded guilty to four counts. He also is expected to pay $115,000 in restitution to Premier Valley Bank, which operates Yosemite Bank.

Outside the courthouse after entering his plea, Eaves sounded remorseful.

"Just sorry. I let a lot of people down. I let my family down. Just sorry," he said.

Eaves was represented Thursday by Michael Culver of Richard A. Ciummo and Associates.

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Don Eaves is shown during a 2017 Oakhurst Sierra Sunrise Rotary gathering. Sierra Star archive

Eaves is well-known in the mountain community. One person who knows him but asked not to be identified said people in the Oakhurst area are mostly shocked and feel sorry for Eaves' family following his arrest and charges.

Madera County District Attorney David Linn said the alleged crimes affected many people in the mountain community.

Bank officials were cooperating with the investigation.

“We are devastated by the news and we are saddened by the impact on the community, our customers and our employees,” said Brad Fischer, senior vice president and regional banking manager at Premier Valley Bank.

Fischer said Thursday that the bank had not yet been asked to appear in court for the restitution hearing. "We're letting the authorities go through the process they follow," Fischer said.

Premier Valley Bank operates eight offices in Central California including Yosemite Bank.

Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado: 559-441-6304, @cres_guez
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