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S T. GEORGE – A $50 discrepancy in a bank deposit led to an internal audit that revealed an embezzlement scheme that resulted in an estimated loss of nearly $100,000 in deposits for a family health care clinic in St. George.
And police say the funds were allegedly taken by one of the company’s veteran managers over the course of several years.
The arrest stems from an investigation that was opened in November 2022 after authorities received a report of possible embezzlement that took place at a health care facility on Riverside Drive in St. George.
According to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest, the case was forwarded to the detective division of the St. George Police Department for follow-up.
While talking to the CEO of the company, investIgadores learned that an employee, Consuelo Haydee Olivas, 38, a six-year veteran and one of the center’s managers, had allegedly taken between $10,000 and $30,000 from the company, according to initial estimates.
An internal audit would later reveal that the amount of money allegedly taken was significantly higher.
The alleged theft came to light while Olivas was away on business in October 2022, when other employees took over handling bank deposits in his absence. While making one of the deposits, the report says, the clerk noticed $50 was missing, and during an internal investigation, staff suspected that Olivas had taken the money just before he left on the business trip.
When confronted by the company, investigators say, the suspect told the supervisor that she had taken the money by accident. At the same time, Olivas, who was still out of town on company business, called a coworker to request an increase in the amount he could spend on the company credit card.
The authorities also learned from the supervisor that Olivas “should not you have been using the company credit card” for your own expenses while away on business. Along with the money that was allegedly missing from the bank deposit, the supervisor began to suspect that Olivas was using the company’s credit card for his personal use, in addition to taking money from the company by cutting off deposits.
Olivas returned to the office and was confronted by a supervisor, which is when the suspect allegedly confessed to taking money from deposits, shortfalls she explained began after her ex-husband’s death, according to the report.
During the meeting, the suspect was informed that she was on administrative leave pending the ongoing internal investigation. Shortly thereafter, the suspect was reportedly seen leaving the office “with bags in hand,” and minutes later the supervisor noticed that the door to the safe where the deposits were kept was open.
Suspecting that Olivas may have walked off with the bank deposits, the supervisor called Olivas and told him to return the money, which the suspect did shortly after when the supervisor met Olivas at a nearby bank.
Detectives recovered banking information and deposit records that revealed that the suspect had altered many of the deposit slips from various departments within the health care company to “hide the money she was taking,” the officer said.
In total, the company’s internal audit revealed a loss of more than $100,000 in deposits that were reportedly taken by the suspect over the course of several years.
According to the report, internal audit records revealed, for example, that between August and October, nearly $14,000 in deposits never made it to the bank.
Detectives also learned that deposit amounts doubled, and in some cases even tripled, after the suspect was placed on administrative leave.
On Friday, the St. George Police Department conducted an interview during which the suspect reportedly told police that she took $2,500 from the company the day she was placed on administrative leave, adding that she had returned the money to the company later that same day.
The suspect also said she had taken approximately $3,000 of bank deposits a few years earlier and said she had returned the money “without anyone knowing.”
The suspect also told detectives that she had “been taking money” from customer payments and claimed that she had paid the money back by adding it to a bank deposit later. She also said that she modified the deposit slip to reflect the change in the amount.
Following the interview, the suspect was transported to the Purgatory Correctional Center and booked into jail on two counts of second-degree felony theft of money allegedly stolen and one count of communications fraud for tampering with company financial documents. .
Employee Theft: A $50 Billion Industry
According to an analysis by JW Surety Bonds, employee thefts cost businesses more than $50 billion a year in the United States, and nearly two-thirds of all reported thefts in the healthcare industry are committed by a manager. Additionally, theft continues for approximately two years before it is detected on average, and approximately one-third of all business bankruptcies are the result of employee theft.
Following Friday’s arrest, Olivas was indicted on second-degree felony theft and forgery, a third-degree felony, while the embezzlement offense was dropped during the review process, so it was never filed. . The defendant was released from jail the following afternoon and an initial appearance in the case has not yet been scheduled.
This report is based on statements from court records, police or other first responders and may not contain the full scope of the findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty by a court of law or otherwise decided by a judge of fact.
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