Ex-Calif. Bookkeeper Accused of Embezzling $10M

VISTA, Calif. (AP) - A former bookkeeper embezzled $9.9 million, forcing her company to make layoffs as she bought 400 pairs of shoes that she kept in a room-sized closet decorated with a crystal chandelier and a plasma television, authorities claim.

Annette Yeomans, 51, surrendered at the Vista jail on Friday and was booked for investigation of grand theft and embezzlement. She was being held Saturday at the San Diego County jail in lieu of $10 million bail.

It was not immediately clear whether she had an attorney.

Authorities allege that Yeomans embezzled the money from 2001 to 2007 while she was chief financial officer for Quality Woodworks, Inc., a cabinetry business in San Marcos.

She spent at least $240,000 on 400 pairs of shoes, $300,000 on designer clothing and 160 purses valued at $2,000 each, investigators allege. She also remodeled a bedroom into a closet with the chandelier and a 32-inch TV, they said.

"On a weekly basis Yeomans would spend $25,000 on her credit card and then pay off the balance the following Monday with company funds," said Sgt. Mark Varnau of the sheriff's Financial Crimes Unit.

The losses went unnoticed and the company never hired an outside
auditor to check the books because she had a trusted position, Varnau said. Meanwhile, he said, the company was forced to lay off workers and restructure operations because of the losses.

An investigation began after American Express notified the company in February 2008 that one of its checks had been used to make a payment on Yeomans' account, Varnau said.

Yeomans was fired last year and agreed to turn over her assets to the company, which has recovered about $2 million from the sale of her home, some cars and other property, Varnau said.

Her husband was a cabinet installer at Quality Woodworks but was not suspected of any crime, Varnau said.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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