FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. -
A bookkeeper for a small farm in Fresno has been arrested and accused of stealing nearly $300,000 dollars from the business. Brandy Mabry, a 52-year old woman from Fresno, was arrested Tuesday night for the crime.
The Fresno County Sheriff's Office said Mabry may have been stealing from Simone Fruit Company since March 2015. Investigators said she altered business checks and would deposit the money into her personal bank account.
Simone Fruit Company President Mauro Simone lamented, "It just makes me feel horrible, of course, and how hard we work to make a living out here. And for somebody to just take it. I feel violated."
Simone said he hired Mabry in 2010. She was recommended to him by an accountant friend.
"I'm for giving somebody a second chance, and she needed a job. I needed a secretary, and she was very good at her job," explained Simone.
However, Simone learned, she was perhaps too good at her job.
He said, "She figured out a way to alter the checks to where she ended up having blank checks with my name, my signature on it, when they weren't blank."
The Better Business Bureau said it's crucial all companies have a checks and balances system. Director Cindy Dudley recommends at least two people look at the financials of the company.
Dudley said, "If you're the owner of a company, you should always have a good handle on your check register and your accounts, and know the balances."
Simone stated that business was going well last year, which is perhaps why he didn't notice the allegations against mabry.
"Looking back, I can see that there was signs there that I wasn't really, I'm seeing them now, but I didn't pick up on them at the time," ended Simone.
Mabry faces felony charges of embezzlement, grand theft by an employee, and forgery. She has since bailed out of jail, and she's expected to be in court on November 30.