MERCED Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A Merced woman was sentenced for felony embezzlement of $300,000 on Wednesday by the Merced County Superior Court, according to the DA’s office.

According to the report from the Office of the Merced County District Attorney, 46-year-old Robin Ruth Recla, also known as Robin Berard was found guilty of felony embezzlement of $300,000 and for the felony filing of a false tax return for not reporting that embezzled money as income to the California Franchise Tax Board.

She was sentenced to serve two years and 8 months in prison, the maximum allowable sentence under the current state law.

Officials say Recla embezzled $300,000 from five investors and an attorney with the intention of opening a restaurant in the Los Banos area in 2018. She was placed in charge of finances but never created the agreed-upon business. Instead, Recla used the money for personal use, writing $159,273 worth of checks to herself and withdrawing $24,900 from ATMs.

The embezzlement was discovered by the investors after they were informed by their bank that the business account was overdrawn. Further investigation by the Franchise Tax Board also discovered that Recla had filed a false tax return in relation to her embezzlement of funds from investors according to the report.

The Merced County District Attorney says that at the sentencing, the prosecution showed through briefs and arguments that Recla has a history of fraud going as far back as 1998 when she was convicted of fraud to obtain aid.