County of Marin - News Releases - Charitable Restitution Orders

For Immediate Release
March 30, 2016

District Attorney Secures Large Charitable Restitution Orders

San Rafael, CA -- On March 16, 2016, following a conviction in the case of People v. Michael Salit (Marin County Superior Court case number SC192444A), the Marin County District Attorney distributed restitution checks to three prominent charities that fell victim to embezzlement by the fiduciary of a trust.

The three charities and the restitution amounts were: Planned Parenthood of Northern California, $261,487.17; Earth Justice (Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund), $307,795.22; and EnGenderHealth, $85,230.00.

In late 2014, the District Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with the Marin County Major Crimes Task Force in the course of investigating an interstate marijuana distribution and money laundering case in Mill Valley, California, involving Michael Salit, discovered in examining extensive banking and financial records a suspected embezzlement, wherein Salit failed to disburse over $500,000 in charitable donations from a Mill Valley couple’s trusts. Instead of directing the funds as intended by the deceased benefactors, Salit deposited those funds into his own “charity” and then used that money to buy real property in his name. As this case was being investigated, the District Attorney filed petitions with the court to preserve over $1.3 million in Salit’s assets for potential restitution orders.

On January 19, 2016, Salit pled guilty to two felony violations of Penal Code section 506 (embezzlement by a fiduciary of trust) and admitted the white collar enhancement pursuant to Penal Code section 186.11. As part of the disposition, Salit signed a stipulated distribution of assets, which provided for the liquidation of $754,512.44 in assets to cover restitution and penal fines related to the case. An order distributing the assets was subsequently signed by Judge James Chou at the sentencing hearing on February 9, 2016.


Ed Berberian
District Attorney
County of Marin

Marin County Civic Center
3501 Civic Center Drive
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6450


Email: Ed Berberian