Woman arrested on suspicion of embezzling $260K

CENTRAL GLENDALE — A woman has been arrested on suspicion of embezzling roughly $260,000 from a Glendale-based film production company and then racking up bills that included visits to hair salons.

Police arrested Jaquetta Coleman, 41, after getting a warrant to search her Toluca Lake home, where they seized a flat-screen TV, a Blu-ray player, three computers, shoes and clothing, Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

She was released from jail after posting $20,000 bail on Feb. 24, according Los Angeles County Sheriff’s records.

Coleman had worked as bookkeeper since March 2009 at Renegade 83, a TV production company on West Lexington Drive in Glendale, Lorenz said.

The company has produced several reality TV hits, including “Blind Date,” “The 5th Wheel” and “It’s Effin Science.”

Company representatives did not return calls seeking comment, and a telephone listing for Coleman could not be tracked down.

While managing the company’s finances, Lorenz said Coleman applied for business-issued credit cards, one of which had a $20,000-limit.

She allegedly used the credit cards to purchase electronics and concert tickets, and to fund trips to hair salons.

After racking up the bills, Lorenz said Coleman left the company. The alleged theft was not discovered until company executives hired a new accountant, who discovered the alleged theft, Lorenz said.

Organizations typically lose 5% of their annual revenues to work fraud and abuse, according to the Assn. of Certified Fraud Examiners, a top anti-fraud group whose members include lawyers, law-enforcement officers, investigators and auditors.

Frauds often span 18 months before being discovered and organizations typically lose $160,000, according to a report by the association last year.

More than 80% of work fraud is committed by employees in accounting, sales, upper management, operations, purchasing or customer service, according to the report. And most perpetrators have never been charged or convicted of fraud.

Detectives said Coleman has been cooperating with them during the investigation.

They plan to seek charges ranging from embezzlement to grand theft, Lorenz said.

Coleman is due in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Glendale on April 7, he added.

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