Monday, February 2, 2015

California Woman Sentenced For Embezzling $180K; Was Previously Convicted On Another Major Embezzlement

From the Press-Enterprise on 1/30/2015:

A Riverside woman has been sentenced to eight years in prison after she pleaded guilty to grand theft charges in embezzling more than $180,000 from her employer, after serving state prison time for a previous conviction for a six-figure theft from a prior employer.

Amber Marie Peralta, 33, changed her plea at a Jan. 21 court hearing and was sentenced by Riverside County Superior Court Judge Helios J. Hernandez, according to court records.

Peralta pleaded guilty in 2007 to identity theft and admitted to fraud and embezzlement in the theft of more than $260,000 from her former employer. She was sentenced to 40 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution, according to court records.

The new investigation began after her former employer, Bob Kelsoe, head of Kelsoe & Associates, a Corona-based land surveying company, emailed Peralta’s most recent employer, John Leuer of LOR Geotechnical Group Inc. in Riverside.

Kelsoe said last year that he had tried for years without success to collect restitution from Peralta from the earlier case by having her wages at the Riverside company garnished.

But Peralta was office manager at LOR Geotechnical and intercepted the emails, according to Kelsoe. He obtained an email to contact Leuer directly.

Riverside police investigators learned that general ledger entries noted payments to companies, but Peralta wrote checks to herself instead, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. Bank surveillance footage linked Peralta to the checks.

In the earlier case, Peralta’s husband, Joseph Sosteno Peralta, pleaded guilty to one count of identity theft and was sentenced to six months in a work release program, according to court records. He was not linked to the 2014 case.

“I wish no one to have to endure this horrible life of being locked up with nothing but remorse recurring and counting the ways I should have and could have avoided where I am at today,” Amber Peralta wrote in asking a judge to shorten her sentence. The inmate firefighter regretted her husband winding up with a felony conviction “although he had nothing to do with” the crimes.

As a first-time mother with an infant son, she wrote her experience “has taught me money isn’t everything, being with my son and raising him, teaching him is all that matters.”

The judge denied Peralta’s request. In the new case, the judge recommended Peralta be given a fire camp assignment again.

No comments: