FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – A 40-year-old woman was arrested by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office accused of embezzling over half a million dollars from her boss, a Kingsburg farmer.
40-year-old Jennifer Macias faces felony charges for embezzlement and forgery charges. She was booked into Fresno County Jail on Sept. 28 and her bail was set at nearly $50,000. Macias was released within 24 hours after her arrest.
“Like anything else in crime, the one thing that will get you every time is greed,” said Tony Botti with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.
Botti said the farmer first noticed money being drained from his bank account in 2020.
“All too often it becomes way too tempting to people that you trust more than anyone,” said Botti. “To start dipping their hand in that cookie jar, and you know, you are not missing $200,000 or $500,000 in a week. But eventually, it adds up and then you have hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
The owner called the bank, an investigation was opened, and officials said evidence shows that Macias was writing checks to herself and depositing them into her personal account since 2018.
“Rural crimes are something we have been dealing with for decades,” said Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen. “Whether it be equipment theft or metal theft, it is something that we, unfortunately, deal with and try to do as much as we can to prevent it. But in the past couple of years, we have seen a rise in embezzlement thefts.”
Jacobsen said it is important for owners to stay vigilant as farmers can be easy targets due to the high profits and rural nature.
“Whether that is trying to prevent thefts of metal,” said Jacobsen. “Or on your pumps, or in the office, making sure you have proper controls in place.”