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Pittsburg Woman Convicted of Embezzling $250k From Employer

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A Pittsburg woman who embezzled nearly $250,000 by tracing her employer's signature onto checks and used a company credit card to pay her daughter's phone bill was convicted Thursday by a Contra Costa County jury.

Jenelle Silva, 44, was found guilty of six felonies, including identity theft and the embezzlement of her former employer, Bay Area Washout Systems of Pittsburg, according to the Contra Costa District Attorney's office.

Prosecutors said Silva obtained access to the company's books and records, including the accounting software, when she was appointed office manager in 2012.

One of her duties included printing checks for the partners of the company to sign, according to DA spokesman Scott Alonso.

From 2012 through January 2017, she printed additional checks written out in her own name, prosecutors said. After tracing the managing partner's signature onto the checks, Silva deposited them. She also used a company credit card to pay her daughter's phone bill, according to the district attorney. The amount embezzled amounted to $247,456, officials said.

Silva tried to delete evidence of the embezzlement by removing the records for the checks entirely or changing the entries to make the checks look like legitimate business expenses, prosecutors said.

A forensic accountant determined that Silva spent the stolen funds on personal expenses such as groceries, gasoline, Starbucks, and movies.

In addition, the jury found guilty of crime enhancements of committing two or more felonies involving a loss of over $100,000.

The Contra Costa District Attorney's Office previously prosecuted Silva for embezzling $80,000 from the insurance company where she worked before Bay Area Washout Systems and she had a prior felony conviction in 2011 for embezzlement.

Silva faces up to five years in prison, and sentencing is set for Oct. 18 at 1:30 p.m. before Contra Costa County Judge Castellanos.

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