Two Garden Grove roommates are accused of stealing a check from a Newport Beach law firm and changing the value to more than $285,000 that they spent on a lavish trip to New York that included private jet travel, multiple hotel rooms, and a shopping spree at Tiffany & Co. and Montblanc for them and their friends. Alexa Johzen Polar, 34, and Robin Antonella Pabello, 33, are also alleged to have obtained cashier checks totaling $100,000 and $33,000 from the fraudulently obtained funds to lease and/or purchase a $3.7 million, 11,000-square-foot house in Murietta.
They were living together in Garden Grove between Sept. 21 and Nov. 16 when they stole a $19,500 check made out to the Newport Beach law firm where Polar worked as a paralegal, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA).
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The roomies are accused of removing the payee's name and the amount from the check and writing in Pabello's name and the new amount of $285,000. On Nov. 16, the check was deposited via ATM into a joint bank account held by Pabello and Polar, who allegedly went on to charter a private jet to fly themselves and several friends to New York City, rent five rooms at a hotel in Times Square, and purchase items from Tiffany & Co. and Montblanc. They are later said to have used part of the remaining funds to get the huge pad in Riverside County.
The theft was discovered after the issuing bank rejected the check that the receiving bank had processed. The Cypress Police Department investigated the case that has resulted in Pabello and Polar each being charged with two felony counts of forgery, one felony count of grand theft, and one felony count of grand theft by embezzlement. They also face a sentencing enhancement for white collar crime over $100,000.
If convicted, each faces up to six years and four months in state prison. The OCDA said it would request at arraignment in Westminster this afternoon that each prove funds for their bails of $285,000 each come from "a legal and legitimate source" before a bond is posted.