Two former employees of Bronco Wine Company were recently charged with felony grand theft for payroll fraud. Cynthia Gonzales, 37 of Turlock, and Sharon Verville Lopez, 37 of Ripon, were both former employees in Bronco Wine Company’s Human Resources Department.
According to Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Anthony Bejaran, the discovery of the theft was made in early 2011 during an annual audit of payroll compensation data. Audits of this type are routine within Bronco, assuring that crime will be detected.
The two former employees conspired together and the thefts occurred throughout most of 2010. The Company reported this information to the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department in early 2011.
“Detective Billy Redding is credited with a thorough and comprehensive investigation which allowed the District Attorney’s Office to file criminal charges against Gonzales and Lopez,” stated Sgt. Bejaran.
Both Gonzalez and Lopez entered pleas to felony grand theft. They were sentenced to 180 days jail and ordered to pay restitution.
The Sheriff’s Office wants to remind business owners to be cautious of internal privileged access. Audits and other regular financial best accounting practices should always be used to ensure accountability by employees.