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Embezzlement charges reach $1.3 million in SB County

By   /   Thursday, March 12th, 2009  /   Comments Off on Embezzlement charges reach $1.3 million in SB County

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Two Santa Barbara County women have been arrested on charges of embezzling a combined $1.3 million in recent days.

Angela Phillips, a 37-year-old Montecito resident, was arrested March 11 on suspicion of embezzling $850,000 from her employer, Windsor Capital Group, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department. In a separate incident, sheriff’s officials arrested 39-year-old Cathy Latou on March 2 and charged her with embezzling $450,000 from the Santa Barbara Olive Co.

The investigation into Phillips stretches back to Dec. 11, when the owner of Windsor Capital Group told sheriff’s officials that an administrative assistant had allegedly been embezzling funds, according to the sheriff’s dpearment. Phillips handled expenditures for Windsor, law enforment officals said.

Sheriff’s officals suspect Phillips of using Windsor’s credit cards and online accounts for purchases and travel for her, her family and her friends, the deparment said. The deparment also alleged that Phillips forged checks in Windsor’s name and deposited them into a fradulent bank account, according to a press release from the deparment.

Accompanied by her attorney, Phillips turned herself in to sherriff’s officials in Carpinteria on March 11, according to the department. They booked Phillips into jail, but they did not say whether she posted the $850,000 bail set against her.

In what appears to be a separate incident, the owner of Santa Barbara Olive Co. contacted sheriff’s officials March 2 and said that Latou, the company’s controller, had admitted to embezzling more than $360,000 from the firm, sheriff’s officials said.

Law enforcement officials investigated further and found another $90,000 they suspect Latou of embezzling, sheriff’s officials said. Latou allegedly used a company credit card and checking account to take the money and used it for personal items and “gambling excursions,” the sheriff’s department said.

Latou was booked into county jail but posted $20,000 bail.

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