NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – A Lake Forest woman pleaded guilty Wednesday and was immediately sentenced to two years in prison for stealing about $1.5 million from an orthopedic practice in Newport Beach while working as its bookkeeper.
Tina Marie Reyes, 49, pleaded guilty to five counts of grand theft with sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime in excess of $500,000. Reyes, who had about 14 days credit for time served, paid back nearly $1.5 million in restitution, according to her attorney, Philip Kent Cohen.
Reyes stole from California Orthopaedic Specialists Inc. of Newport Beach from August 2014 through November 2018, according to court records.
A contractor’s complaint of failure to get paid prompted one of the practice’s doctors to contact Reyes, who was on vacation in Europe, according to the complaint. She said she would take care of it when she returned, but Dr. Scott Forman decided to take a closer look at bank statements and realized there were “larger-than-average sums going into a group account for the practice,” according to the criminal complaint.
“Forman then noticed credit balances on company credit cards that were extremely high” and that Reyes had made personal purchases, according to the complaint.
Reyes was fired when she returned from her vacation, according to court records.
She had been hired to replace a bookkeeper of 21 years, who retired in 2014.
“She was able to hide her theft by transferring just enough contributions from each individual doctor to cover the payments on the credit cards on all her charges and the company’s monthly payments, and then transfer money back into a doctor’s individual accounts to make them appear whole,” according to the complaint. “A complete forensic audit revealed that defendant stole approximately $1.5 million.”