There are some people who can handle large amounts of responsibility honestly, and then there are those who can’t be trusted to bring back the change after a coffee run.
A woman out in California who works for a major technology corporation falls into the latter category.
The 44-year-old had a nice job as executive assistant to a senior vice president. She was widely admired and respected within the company for her professionalism and competence.
That was no longer the case after it was revealed that she had embezzled almost a million dollars from her employer.
How was she able to grab so much cash without being detected for an extended period of time? Employee reimbursements were key to her success. She had control of several American Express company credit cards that were to be used strictly for business purposes.
Instead she used the cards for her own extravagant purposes, including:
- More than $100,000 spent at the La Costa Resort Spa.
- More than $43,000 dropped at the Lodge at Pebble Beach and Casa Palmero at Pebble Beach.
- Thousands of dollars went for airfare for trips to Hawaii and Europe.
- More thousands were used for purchases at an Apple store.
- About $33,000 went toward BTO Sports motocross gear.
- A bundle was spent on merchandise from Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom’s.
- The company credit cards paid for more than $350,000 in expenses accrued by her brother’s painting business in Colorado.
Red flags definitely were raised along the way, but the devious defendant covered up her theft in various ways. For example, she intercepted e-mails sent from company administrators questioning her personal spending. She would often delete the incriminating e-mails before they reached her boss.
Sometimes she would send replies to the e-mails indicating that the expenses had been authorized by her boss. She even went so far as to submit fabricated supporting documentation, receipts, and invoices.
When her spending spree finally came to an end, the judge she faced commented that it seemed like there were two people involved, the good secretary and the thief.
The thief got punished: A custodial sentence of 21 months and an order to pay almost $1 million in restitution.