For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
BUSINESS OWNER SENTENCED TO NINE YEARS AND EIGHTS MONTHS IN PRISON FOR EMBEZZLING OVER $950,000 FROM CLIENT/EMPLOYER
SANTA ANA – A business owner was sentenced to nine years and eight months in state prison for defrauding over $950,000 from his client/employer. Carino Torres, 45, Westminster, pleaded guilty yesterday, Jan. 21, 2014, to three felony counts of forgery, one felony count of grand theft, and one felony count of writing non-sufficient fund checks with sentencing enhancements for committing an aggravated white collar crime over $500,000 and property loss over $200,000.
Torres was employed as a forklift driver at Catalina Cylinders in Garden Grove since 1992. The company specialized in producing and supplying metal tanks, which were commonly used as oxygen tanks, fire extinguishers, or within the medical field. The company shipped out its products on wooden pallets.
Torres received approval from his employer and began a side business making wooden pallets. He then sold them to the company. Catalina Cylinders therefore became both the defendant’s employer and client.
Between 2002 and 2012, Torres billed Catalina Cylinders for over $950,000 worth of wooden pallets, which he never delivered. Torres forged employee signatures on delivery receipts to make it appear as if the pallets were delivered in order to receive payment from the company.
On Sept. 11, 2012, two employees noticed a discrepancy regarding the number of pallets the company had on-hand. One of those employees also found a forged invoice and confronted Torres. An internal audit was conducted by the company, which revealed the overbilling, and reported it to the Garden Grove Police Department, who investigated this case.
Deputy District Attorney Megan Wagner of the Major Fraud Unit prosecuted this case.