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Former real estate agent sentenced to jail for embezzlement

A Santa Barbara County Superior Court judge sentenced 47-year-old Melissa Reynoso, a former real estate agent accused of stealing thousands of dollars from her employer, to one year in county jail.

The sentence also carries five years’ probation. Prosecutors say Reynoso stole $163,750 in checks from Abacus Premier Property Management when she worked there as a bookkeeper. Reynoso also prepared false bank statements to cover up her theft.

Reynoso had previously pled to one count of grand theft by embezzlement, one count of preparing false documentary evidence, and admitted a special allegation that she stole in excess of $100,000.

As an employee of Abacus Premier Property Management, Reynoso wrote checks to vendors and prepared a monthly reconciliation of the company’s bank account as part of her duties.

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office said on Wednesday, that Reynoso wrote over $163,750 in checks from the company’s account over several years. Those checks were then deposited into her bank account. To cover-up the theft she falsified the reconciliations to make it appear as if those checks were written to legitimate vendors, the District Attorney’s Office said.

Reynoso will begin serving her sentence on January 13. A Restitution Hearing will be scheduled in court on February 25.

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