Bluffton woman sent to prison for embezzlement
BEAUFORT – A 41-year-old Bluffton woman was sentenced to two years in prison on Thursday, February 28 for embezzling more than $140,000 from a local property management business.
Christie Linares pleaded guilty to one count of breach of trust with fraudulent intent. For seven years, she worked as a bookkeeper for a Bluffton commercial property management company. When the company’s owner moved out of the area in 2010, Linares was given the authority to sign checks and the embezzlement began.
In July 2012, it was discovered that Linares was using company credit cards and wrote checks out of company checking accounts for personal expenses and for her own personal benefit. The money that was stolen came from both the company’s operating account and from accounts associated with commercial properties managed by the company.
During Thursday’s hearing, Judge Thomas W. Cooper, Jr. ordered Linares be placed on five years of probation following her prison sentence and that she pay $143,463 in restitution.
This case was investigated by Henry Criss of the Bluffton Police Department and prosecuted by Francine Norz of the Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office.