(March 20, 4:57 p.m.) David Lenihan, a former controller for two Yakima, Wash., area apple grower-shippers, has been sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to theft and fraud charges.

Lenihan was arrested in November 2007 after audits at Washington Fruit and Produce Co., Yakima, and Underwood Fruit and Warehouse Co., White Salmon, Wash., — and a subsequent yearlong investigation by the Yakima Police Department — revealed he had embezzled more than $2.1 million. State prosecutors charged Lenihan with one count of theft. Federal officials indicted him on 21 counts of bank fraud after the investigation discovered a number of forged checks made payable to Lenihan.

Lenihan, who also owned apple orchards, sold the fruit for nine years to Washington Fruit and Produce and Underwood Fruit, said Ken Ramm, who prosecuted the case for the Yakima County Prosecutor’s office. The grower-shippers advanced funds to Lenihan’s farming operations for the cost of chemicals, labor and other expenses, he said, and the advances were to be deducted from payments made to Lenihan when the fruit was sold.

“As the controller for the companies, he would maneuver those advances into other accounts, and eventually they would disappear from the books,” Ramm said.

Under terms of plea agreements, Lenihan was given five years in prison on the state charges and a sentence of 21 months on the federal charges after pleading to three of the counts. The sentences will run concurrently, said Ann Davidson, an assistant to assistant U.S. attorney Sean Anderson.

The state court also ordered Lenihan to make $66,000 in restitution; the federal judge ordered $412,000 in restitution. Still at issue is where Lenihan may have hidden the money.

“Attorneys for the packinghouses are trying to track it down,” Ramm said.

Both packinghouses have filed civil suits against Lenihan.