Peer fined $ 3 million apiece for embezzlement – Orange County Register


SANTA ANA – Two people who handled the financial records of a Garden Grove company pleaded guilty, were sentenced to jail and were fined $ 3 million every Thursday in Orange County Superior Court for stealing more than $ 1.5 million from their employer by processing more than 800 fraudulent paychecks. .

Eric Wayne Helgemo, 50, of Vista, who was CFO, has been charged with 38 counts of computer access and fraud. Co-accused Maria Lorena Vega Yarrish, 40, of Buena Park, the company’s comptroller, has faced 40 counts of computer access and fraud.

Both defendants pleaded guilty to sentencing improvements and property damage allegations of over $ 1.3 million, resulting in a loss of over $ 100,000 and worsening white collar crime by over 100,000 dollars.

Judge Erick L. Larsh sentenced Helgemo to 10 years and Yarrish to eight years in state prison.

Cor Claus, former owner of Pacific Polymers Inc., a chemical sealant company in Garden Grove, told the judge he thought the sentence was fair. And, in a statement to the court ahead of sentencing, Claus said he was hurt by the couple, whom he trusted.

“While I was battling cancer in 2007, these two people not only continued the program, they sped it up,” said Claus.

The company lost $ 7.5 million because of the shares of Helgemo and Yarrish, he told the judge. A restitution hearing is scheduled for March 24.

According to the District Attorney’s website, between 2003 and 2008, Yarrish, who processed employee timesheets, and Helgemo, who prepared financial reports for the business owner, processed between one and 11 checks. fraudulent payroll per pay period.

Helgemo took 593 fraudulent payments totaling more than $ 1.1 million, while Yarrish took 229 fraudulent payments totaling more than $ 340,000, the website said. The fraud went undetected for several years, as Helgemo monitored Yarrish’s work, the website said.

In June 2008, Pacific Polymers was sold to Illinois Tool Works Inc. and the defendants’ jobs were cut. The theft was discovered during a financial audit of Pacific Polymer.

Contact the writer: 714-834-3773 or [email protected]

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