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Woman Receives 5 Years in Theft

The former bookkeeper at a Camarillo firm must repay at least $850,000 in restitution after embezzling $365,000.

September 19, 2003|Amanda Covarrubias | Times Staff Writer

A 52-year-old former bookkeeper was sentenced to five years in state prison for embezzling $365,000 from a Camarillo company, the Ventura County district attorney's office said Thursday.

Susan Lynne Martinez of Camarillo was sentenced Wednesday by Superior Court Judge Art Gutierrez after pleading guilty in July to eight felony counts of embezzlement, forgery, money laundering and computer fraud.

Martinez embezzled money from Advanced Tool Corp., where she had worked as a bookkeeper from 1996 to 2001, by forging company checks and either depositing the funds into her personal account or giving them directly to her creditors, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Marc Leventhal.

She used some of the stolen money on lavish vacations to Hawaii and Britain, he said. Investigators uncovered 411 forged checks.

Martinez concealed her theft by underreporting and underpaying the company's state and federal payroll taxes, leaving the company exposed to claims by tax authorities for unpaid taxes, interest and penalties totaling more than $875,000.

She was ordered to pay at least $850,000 in restitution to her former employer, which fired her in 2001 when it learned of the allegations, Leventhal said.

Advanced Tool Corp. officials were unaware that Martinez had been serving a three-year probationary sentence while she worked for them. She had been convicted in 1995 on a misdemeanor charge of stealing several thousand dollars from a different company where she worked as a bookkeeper, Leventhal said.

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