|For Immediate Release
March 26, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
CPA CONVICTED OF STEALING MORE THAN $575,000 FROM EMPLOYER BY FORGING BOSS’ SIGNATURE AND WRITING CHECKS TO SELF
SANTA ANA – A certified public accountant (CPA) was convicted today 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, pleaded guilty to 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. She was sentenced to six years in state prison and ordered to pay more than $549,000 in restitution.
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 wrote 107 checks made payable to herself or to “Cash” from CDW accounts. She forged the signature of the company’s owner on each of the checks and deposited 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 manipulated the company’s financial records to erroneously show that the checks she had written to herself went as payment to vendors. She used 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 prosecuted this case.