A local health-care executive has been charged with felony embezzlement related to work he performed for a San Luis Obispo-based Hispanic nonprofit organization, Visión Unida.
Lorincio “Larry” Bacus, employed as an administrator for Community Health Centers, was arrested Feb. 2 while at Café Roma in San Luis Obispo, according to court and police records. He was later released on $20,000 bail.
Bacus appears regularly as a speaker representing CHC before the County Health Commission and has in the past acted as spokesman for the organization. His title is contract manager and associates describe him as a nonpracticing physician.
The charge stems from allegations that Bacus embezzled $13,476 from Visión Unida while he was working with the group in 2005.
Bacus did not respond to repeated requests for comment, although an assistant said he was aware of the allegations.
Visión Unida, a nonprofit, was started 15 years ago with the goal of increasing Latino participation in civic affairs. Among its programs, it offers a 13-week course focused on fostering leadership skills.
“We’re very grassroots; we were devastated,” said Antonia Herrera, the past president of the group. She said Bacus acted as treasurer at the time of the alleged theft, which was discovered after an audit. She said the organization has since implemented a variety of accounting safeguards.
The damage was severe enough that it meant the organization could not complete a planned expansion of the program to offer a leadership program for youths, she said.
Bacus’ employer, Community Health Centers of the Central Coast, is also a nonprofit. According to information on its website, the group runs a network of community health clinics around the county that specialize in providing care to low-income people and has several major contracts with SLO County. It has an annual budget of $40 million.
Bacus is scheduled to be arraigned in court on the charges Feb. 17.