According to the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office, Yesenia Rios Ramos, 40, is suspected of falsifying books to steal more than $277,000 from Zuckerman Family Farms.
Investigators say Ramos put phantom employees on the company payroll, issued them checks, then cashed those checks and kept the money for herself.
At first Ramos told investigators she’d been forced to issue the checks by a gang member who threatened her but under further questioning, Ramos admitted there she’d made up the story.
Investigators discovered the thefts had been taking place since 2010. The phantom employees were discovered by one of the business’ owners when he was going through his accounts looking for ways to reduce costs.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, family-owned businesses are the principal victims of embezzlements. Business owners are urged to put strong checks and balances in place to prevent employee theft and to maintain embezzlement/fidelity insurance policies to protect the business if thefts occur. Tips for preventing embezzlement can be found here.