Crime

Bradenton woman embezzled over $100,000 from Palmetto business, cops say

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It isn't always easy to tell if your personal information has been stolen for fraudulent purposes or your accounts have been compromised. Here are some common signs that you might be a victim of identity theft.

A Bradenton woman is a facing felony scheme to defraud charge after embezzling more than $100,000 from her Palmetto employer, according to the Palmetto Police Department.

According to court documents filed in the 12th Judicial Circuit Court, Erika Thereau “unlawfully engaged in a systematic, ongoing course of conduct with the intent to defraud one or more persons by false or fraudulent purposes.”

Thereau, 40, was the office manager for Aaa Cast Stone, Inc. in Palmetto.

President of Aaa Cast Stone, Larry Haveman said he could not comment too much on the case since he intends to file civil litigation against Thereau, as well. However, Haveman confirmed to the Bradenton Herald Friday that Thereau was in charge of the company’s bookkeeping and that the amount in question exceeds $100,000.

Haveman said the investigation began about nine months ago when the company’s bank picked up on some suspicious activity and “tipped us off. I can’t say too much more at this time.”

Thereau was booked into the Manatee County jail on July 8 with a $10,000 bond. She made bond and was released that same day.

According to the arrest report, Thereau began forging company checks in Haveman’s name beginning in April of 2016. She would make the checks out to herself and to her live-in boyfriend at the time, but claims the man knew nothing about it and that she forged his name as well.

Police say Thereau would make the checks look like payroll checks or expense reimbursements.

The report states that Haveman confronted Thereau in October 2018 and she admitted her activities. Police say Thereau admitted she had forged the checks, as well, but told police that Haveman often allowed her to sign his name, which Haveman said is not true.

Thereau told police that Haveman allowed her to do so for other employees as well, but all of the employees disputed her story in separate interviews, according to the report.

One of the witnesses told police that Thereau came to her home crying and told the witness, “I can’t believe Larry found out what I did,” and, “I’m going to jail.”

The report states Thereau told the witness that she had been stealing money for a long time and, “They finally caught me.”

According to jail records, Thereau has had encounters with police in the past. She was arrested in 2013 for a second offense petit theft and aggravated assault. She was arrested in 2009 for the first petit theft and driving while license suspended habitual offender.

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