For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
BOOKKEEPER CHARGED WITH EMBEZZLING OVER $1.4 MILLION FROM TWO LAW FIRMS AND ISSUING UNAUTHORIZED CHECKS TO HUSBAND
NEWPORT BEACH – A bookkeeper faces charges for embezzling over $1.4 million from two law firms and issuing unauthorized checks to her husband. Shawna Renee Barretto, 39, Anaheim, was charged in March 2014 with 22 felony counts of computer access fraud, 21 felony counts of falsifying records, seven felony counts of grand theft, two felony counts of identity theft, one felony count of theft from elder, with sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime over $100,000, aggravated white collar crime over $500,000, property damage or loss over $65,000, property loss over $200,000, property damage over $1.3 million, money laundering over $50,000, and money laundering over $150,000. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 32 years in state prison.
Co-defendant and husband Roberto Nilo Barretto, 53, Anaheim, was charged in March 2014 with one felony count of grand theft. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of three years in jail. Shawna Barretto is out of custody on $1.4 million bail and Roberto Barretto is out of custody on $20,000 bail. Both defendants were arraigned April 11, 2014, and face a pre-trial hearing Aug. 8, 2014, at 8:30 a.m. in Department H-2, Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach.
Between 2005 and 2012, Shawna Barretto is accused of working as a bookkeeper and an office manager for two law firms. Shawna Barretto is accused of embezzling over $1.4 million from the law firms through deceptive record-keeping. She is accused of making unauthorized payments to her personal credit card accounts and opening credit card accounts in the law firms’ names and hiding those fraudulent payments by entering false entries in the law firms’ computer-based accounting records. Shawna Barretto is accused of using those accounts to make payments on personal expenses including her children’s private school tuition, golf club memberships, and other unauthorized expenses.
Between 2005 and 2008, Roberto Barretto is accused of accepting five fraudulent checks issued by his wife totaling $10,825.
On May 12, 2012, an employee in one of the law firms was reviewing past bank records and discovered discrepancies in the financial records, including unauthorized checks made out to the defendant, and reported it to the Irvine Police Department, who investigated this case.
Deputy District Attorney Megan Wagner of the Major Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.