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Police: Woman Caught Embezzling After Throwing Surprise Party

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File photo of a calculator and financial documents. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

File photo of a calculator and financial documents. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

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BOCA GRANDE, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – A local office manager lost her job and gained several criminal charges after her plans for a surprise party exposed her long-term embezzlement of company funds.

According to a press release posted on the official website of the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, former Gulf to Bay Realty employee Ruth Amen was arrested March 25 in relation to her crimes.

The trouble reportedly began when Amen used company funds to pay for a boss’ surprise birthday party.

As office manager for the company, she was said to be in charge of billing, payroll, and other elements of the company’s finances. However, Amen did not have permission to do use the money in such a fashion.

An investigation into her record-keeping was launched soon after, and it was discovered that she had embezzled over $180,000 during her time at Gulf to Bay Realty.

Police learned that she used the money to reconcile her credit card debt. She also issued extra paychecks to herself, and did not subtract insurance fees from her pay, the press release noted.

Amen is facing two first-degree felony charges of grand theft and scheme to defraud.

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