|For Immediate Release
March 11, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
CPA CHARGED WITH STEALING MORE THAN $575,000 FROM EMPLOYER BY FORGING BOSS’ SIGNATURE AND WRITING CHECKS TO SELF
SANTA ANA – A certified public accountant (CPA) was arrested today on charges of stealing more than $575,000 from her employer by forging the owner’s signature and writing checks to herself using company accounts. Susan Rachele, 39, Fullerton, is charged with 107 felony counts of forgery with sentencing enhancements and allegations for white collar crime over $500,000, excessive taking over $150,000, and taking over $100,000. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 80 years and eight months in state prison. Rachele is being held on $600,000 bail and must prove the bail is from a legal and legitimate source in order to post bond. She is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, March 12, 2009, at 1:30 p.m. in Department N-3, North Justice Center, Fullerton.
Rachele, a CPA, worked as the controller for a box printing company, Consolidated Design West (CDW). As controller, the defendant was solely responsible for maintaining and reconciling the company’s finances and financial records. Between May 25, 2001, and March 17, 2007, Rachele is accused of writing 107 checks made payable to herself or to “Cash” from CDW accounts. She is accused of forging the signature of the company’s owner on each of the checks and depositing all 107 checks, totaling more than $575,000, into personal bank accounts at Orange County Teacher’s Federal Credit Union and Wells Fargo Bank.
To cover the forgery and theft, Rachele is accused of manipulating the company’s financial records to erroneously show that the checks she had written to herself went as payment to vendors. She is accused of using codes for product purchases to equal the amount of theft.
On March 28, 2007, the owner of CDW discovered the theft and forgery after receiving a call from a Wells Fargo Bank employee, who became suspicious after noticing several checks for large sums of money written to the defendant. The owner reviewed the checks and confirmed that his signature had been forged.
Deputy District Attorney Marc Labreche of the Major Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.