A 51-year-old La Habra woman pleaded guilty today to defrauding the fence company she worked at out of $284,000 and was sentenced to three years and four months in state prison.
But Veronica Martinez is lucky.
Considering the charges she copped to, the judge could have sent her away for 73 years.
As an office manager at La Habra Fence Co., Martinez had access to all company cash, checks and financial bookkeeping records, and she was solely responsible for receiving and recording petty cash payments.
Between April 2004 and September 2009, she stole more than $284,000 by writing company checks to herself and then falsely recording in the financial books that the checks had been paid to other payees, including vendors and bills. She also had sticky fingers when it came to the petty cash--and cooked the books to hide that, too.
As is often the case in such crimes, someone at the company became suspicious, an audit was performed and cops--in this case, the La Habra Police Department--was informed, leading to an investigation that resulted in Martinez's arrest in August.
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She pleaded guilty today 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 prison time, she was ordered to pay more than $290,000 in restitution plus an additional $568,000 fine.