|For Immediate Release
November 30, 2011
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
OFFICE MANAGER SENTENCED FOR STEALING OVER $284,000 FROM LA HABRA EMPLOYER BY WRITING CHECKS TO SELF AND TAKING PETTY CASH
SANTA ANA – An office manager was sentenced today to three years and four months in state prison for defrauding her employer out of $284,000 by writing checks to herself and stealing petty cash payments. Veronica Martinez, 55, La Habra, pleaded guilty to 51 felony counts of forgery, 51 felony counts of falsifying records, and one felony count of grand theft with sentencing enhancements and allegations for loss over $100,000, aggravated white collar crime over $100,000, and property damage over $65,000. In addition to the state prison sentence, she was also ordered to pay over $290,000 in restitution plus an additional $568,000 fine.
Martinez worked as an office manager for the La Habra Fence Company and had access to all company cash, checks, and financial bookkeeping records. She was placed in a position of trust because she was solely responsible for receiving and recording petty cash payments. Between April 2004 and September 2009, Martinez stole over $284,000 from the business.
The defendant wrote company checks to herself and then falsely recorded in the financial books that the checks had been paid to other payees, including vendors and bills. She also stole petty cash payments and failed to record that the payments had been made in an effort to hide her theft.
In early 2010, a company employee became suspicious after giving Martinez petty cash from a job and discovering the cash missing later in the day. The theft was discovered after La Habra Fence Company performed a financial audit.
The La Habra Police Department investigated this case and arrested Martinez Aug. 25, 2011.
Deputy District Attorney Marc Labreche of the Major Fraud Unit prosecuted this case.