STOCKTON — A San Joaquin County bookkeeper is in jail after pleading guilty to charges related to embezzlement from Zuckerman Farms, according to the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s office.
Yesenia Ramos, 40, pled guilty to felony grand theft and misdemeanor identity theft on Jan. 12. She is awaiting sentencing.
Investigators said Ramos controlled payroll processing and generated checks in the names of nonexistent workers, or “ghosts,” from 2010-16. She then cashed the checks at markets throughout San Joaquin County.
The total loss was $277,234.62. The district attorney said Zuckerman Farms was insured and had recovered its losses.
As part of her guilty plea, Ramos admitted the embezzlement was an aggravated white collar crime, which mandates a state prison term of up to three years.
The district attorney encourages all San Joaquin County businesses to maintain strong accounting controls such as unscheduled rotation of bookkeeping duties and checks and balances among employees. In cases of large payrolls, it is best practice to not allow the same employee making payroll entries to also handle the finished paychecks, the office said.