HR Strange But True!
March 10, 2009

Layoffs are a difficult pill to swallow, but imagine how bitter it would taste if you found out that your employer had to conduct layoffs because a co-worker or executive was embezzling so she could purchase 400 pairs of shoes and build a bedroom-sized closet to house all that foot apparel--and that's just a small fraction of her spending spree on the organization's dime. Investigators in San Diego County say such a scenario unfolded at a manufacturing company in Southern California.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department says a 51-year-old woman embezzled more than $9.9 million over 7 years from her employer to fund her personal lifestyle and gambling trips to local casinos, where she suffered “extensive losses.”

Investigators allege that the woman would spend $25,000 each week on her credit card and then pay off the balance the following Monday with company funds.

The woman used company funds to remodel her home, finance shopping trips to Italy, and purchase luxury vehicles, the Sheriff's Department says.

The woman is also accused of using nearly $25,000 to convert a bedroom into a closet to store her extensive shoe and clothing collection. Investigators say that the collection consisted of 400 pairs of shoes valued at a total of $240,000, designer clothing valued at a total of $300,000, and 160 designer purses valued at a total of $320,000. The closet included a granite covered center island, crystal chandelier, and a 32 inch plasma television.

The Sheriff's Department began investigating after the woman's credit card company contacted the employer to report a pattern of payments made with company checks. A detective assigned to the case spent nearly a year gathering financial documents and records spanning from the business.

The Sheriff's Department says that the woman was able to conceal the alleged scheme for so long because of her position at the company: chief financial officer. The losses resulting from the alleged thefts forced the company to conduct layoffs and restructure its operations.

The woman faces charges of grand theft and embezzlement.

Source: San Diego County Sheriff's Department

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