Patrick Russ took the stand as a preliminary hearing got under way for Virginia Prieto Kelly, a 74-year-old foster mother charged with grand theft and embezzlement.
Kelly was the president of the Latino Foster Parents Association, which received holiday donations from Toys for Tots and other organizations that held toy drives in the county.
About 11,000 toys donated to Kelly's group were found in three locations, according to the prosecution, which alleges that she enlisted the aid of other people to help sell the items.
Russ said Toys for Tots in San Diego distributed 185,000 gifts in 2008 but still fell short of demand, so he had to use credit from the national organization to purchase more presents at area stores.
"I've never had a year like last year," Russ said.
Toys for Tots sent 1,800 toys to the Latino Foster Parents Association last year, he said.
At the conclusion of the hearing, which continues Friday, Judge Margie Woods will decide whether there is enough evidence to order Kelly to stand trial. The main issue will be whether Kelly engaged in criminal behavior or mismanaged her organization on a colossal scale.
District attorney's Investigator Sal Campos testified that a parent who did not receive promised toys from Kelly complained to the county Health and Human Services Agency, triggering the investigation that led to the discovery of the thousands of gifts, he said.
"They were brand-new toys -- they hadn't been opened at all -- toys children dream of," Campos said.
Investigators also recovered "thousands of clothing items" and blankets that were given by the Polinsky Children's Center as far back as 2006, Campos said.
The investigator said the Latino Foster Parents Association's treasurer, Hilda Fernandez, "was astonished" when she learned that the toys had not been given to needy children.
In a taped interview with Campos in February, Kelly denied that toys were sold on her behalf.
In the tape, which was played in court, the defendant said she always kept some toys on hand in case they fell short in donations the following year.
"I did my best and I thought I was doing good," Kelly said.
She said her organization dealt with about 1,500 foster children who received between 2,000 and 2,500 toys each year.
Closing arguments are scheduled Thursday for a former Yuma police officer accused of raping a Kensington woman last year during a visit to her family home.
An 18-year-old man was hospitalized Thursday morning with wounds from a machete suffered in an attempted robbery in Linda Vista.
All northbound lanes of Interstate 5 will be closed from 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. starting Thursday night and continuing through Friday, according to the San Diego Association of Governments.
California regulators are considering a plan to charge a fee for text messaging on mobile phones to help support programs that make phone service accessible to the poor, according to a newspaper report Wednesday.
San Diego State University’s star basketball player, Jalen McDaniels has been accused in a Washington state civil lawsuit of recording sexual acts with a female high school classmate in 2016 and sharing the video with friends on social media.
Apple will build a $1 billion campus in Austin, Texas, break ground on smaller locations in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City, California, and over the next three years expand in Pittsburgh, New York and Colorado.
Offshore flow under a weak Santa Ana will bring warmer temperatures to San Diego coastal and inland areas.
The recent fall storms that soaked San Diego set rainfall records across the county – putting a dent in the drought and making a difference at local lakes.
A police cruiser was involved in a collision Wednesday night in La Jolla that left an officer injured.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi all but ensured Wednesday that she will become House speaker next month, quelling a revolt by disgruntled younger Democrats by agreeing to limit her tenure to no more than four additional years in the chamber's top post.