Truck Rental Company’s Secretary Convicted of Embezzling Over $140,000

A truck rental company secretary was convicted June 7 of embezzling over $140,000 by writing company checks to herself and falsifying business financial records, according ot the Orange County (Calif.) District Attorney's office. 

Beverly Joan Winter, 59, Tustin, pleaded guilty to a court offer to 34 felony counts of forgery and 34 felony counts of falsifying records with sentencing enhancements and allegations for aggravated white collar crime over $100,000, loss over $100,000, and property damage over $65,000.

She was sentenced to one year in jail, five years of probation, and ordered to pay full restitution. The People objected to the court's offer, advocating for a sentence of three years in state prison based on Winter's criminal record, violation of trust, amount of theft, and number of violations.

In early 2005, Winter began working as secretary for David Linskens, owner of Five Star Water Truck Rental Inc. in Anaheim, Calif. Five Star provides water trucks and licensed operators to companies that require a water source for large scale construction projects.  As company secretary, Winter was responsible for managing the company's finances and had access and control over the company's bank account, checks and financial records.

Between June 29, 2005, and July 28, 2008, Winter forged over 130 company checks, making them payable to herself, and deposited them into her personal bank account. She wrote herself checks amounting to more than $140,000 without the knowledge or consent of Linskens. In order to conceal the theft, Winter falsified the company's financial records by altering the payee to reflect a legitimate business or individual with whom the company did business.  

In early September 2008, the bank contacted Linskens to inform him that Five Star's account had been overdrawn. Upon comparing the company's bank account statements and accounting records, Linskens discovered several financial inconsistencies and contacted the police.

Deputy District Attorney Marc Labreche of the major fraud unit prosecuted this case.

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