(818) 552-4503

Employees Charged In $1.5M Bogus Checks Scheme

SANTA ANA (AP) - The chief financial officer and an accountant for an Orange County firm have been charged with stealing more than $1.5 million from the company by processing hundreds of unauthorized checks to themselves.

Prosecutors say 40-year-old Maria Lorena Vega Yarrish is charged with 40 felony counts of computer access and fraud and 50-year-old Eric Wayne Helgemo is charged with 38 similar counts. Each of them also face sentencing enhancements for losses exceeding $1.5 million.

If convicted, they could each be sentenced to more than three decades in prison.

Helgemo was chief financial officer for Pacific Polymers Inc. and he hired Yarris to process payroll for the Garden Grove firm. Prosecutors say they processed up to 11 paychecks, made out to themselves, per pay period from 2003 to 2008.

About the Author