Friday, January 9, 2009
3 Arrested In California Cheese Company $377K Embezzlement Conspiracy
Jesse Lopez, 37, and his wife Susanna Garza, 37, of San Jose, California, along with Alejandro Cruz, 36, were arrested recently on charges they conspired to embezzle some $377,000 from Marquez Brothers International Inc., a cheese company based in San Jose. Lopez and Cruz were employees of Marquez Brothers with Cruz in the position of IT and responsible for purchasing computer equipment. Cruz got approval to buy equipment from Nor-Cal Processing, a San Jose company owned by Garza. However, unbeknowst to company management, according to prosecutors, Cruz continued to buy equipment from the regular vendor, marking up the cost, and charging Marquez Brothers more for equipment they had already been purchasing. Prosecutors said that Cruz intercepted receipts from the regular vendor and have Lopez pay them on his personal credit card. Lopez's wife then created fake receipts from Nor-Cal Processing and receive payment from Marquez Brothers. Lopez, Garcia and Cruz would then pocket the difference after the credit card balances were paid off, according to prosecutors. The criminal complaint alleges that they netted some $377,000 through the scheme. They each face up to 5 years in prison, plus fines and restitution if convicted on the charges of grand theft and "excessive taking." The scheme went on for nearly a year and a half between February 2007 and September 2008.