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Business owner pleads guilty to embezzling $3.2 million

A 61-year-old California woman may go to jail for six months after pleading guilty to embezzling over $3.2 million. The woman pleaded guilty to a felony charge of grand theft in June, and her sentencing was scheduled to take place in November. According to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, the woman stole the money from a bank and used most of it to finance expensive personal purchases.

The accused woman's alleged fraud scheme involved a temp company that she ran. From 2010 to 2012, the woman was accused of creating fake financial reports with inflated earnings in order to make it appear as though her company was profitable. In reality, the company lost $1.2 million over two years before it went out of business in 2013.

Prosecutors say that an IRS audit in 2012 led to the discovery of the woman's financial fraud. Prosecutors learned that the woman paid herself an annual salary of $2 million in addition to bonuses and interest-free loans. Much of the money was held in bank accounts that the woman kept hidden, even when she filed for bankruptcy. Prosecutors accused the woman of using the embezzled funds to pay for vacations, shopping sprees and a rented home that cost $6,250 per month.

The owner of an unprofitable and poorly organized business could end up being falsely accused of fraud. A criminal defense attorney may be able to help a person who is being investigated for embezzlement to determine what business activities prosecutors are interested in. An attorney may then help the defendant to build a strong defense against the charges by proving that the defendant did not have the specific intent to defraud, which is a required element of the crime.

Source: Mountain View Patch, "Woman Faces Sentencing In County Court For Lush Lifestyle Financed By Embezzlement," Nov. 10, 2016

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