Annette Yeomans, who is being held in lieu of $10 million bail, was charged last week with 20 felony counts of embezzlement and grand heft. The 51-year-old defendant faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted, aid Deputy District Attorney Anna Winn.
The prosecutor told the judge last week that from 2001 to 2007, Yeomans wrote 582 checks totaling more than $8.7 million on the business accounts of Quality Woodworks Inc. of San Marcos, where she worked for about 15 years.
Winn alleged the defendant would make out some of the checks to herself and cash them at ATMs and casinos.
According to affidavits filed in support of an arrest warrant, Yeomans spent a majority of the stolen money gambling at casinos, on clothing and jewelry and trips to New York, Las Vegas and other places.
The defendant's husband, John, was a cabinet installer at Quality Woodworks, according to court records. He is not charged with any crimes.
The alleged thefts came to light about a year ago, when a credit card company notified Quality Woodworks about numerous suspicious payments to her account made with company checks, sheriff's Sgt. Mark Varnau said.
Varnau said an investigation revealed that on weekly basis, Yeomans would spend $25,000 on her credit card and then pay off the balance the following Monday with company funds.
The defendant allegedly used the embezzled money to finance purchases of luxury vehicles, shopping trips to Italy and home remodeling projects, including a conversion of one of her bedrooms into a closet to store her large, lavish wardrobe.
Her clothing collection included 400 pairs of shoes valued at $600 each, $300,000 worth of designer garments and 160 purses valued at $2,000 each, investigators allege.
The losses forced Quality Woodworks to forego employee raises, lay off some workers and restructure its operations, authorities said.
The company sued the defendant and her husband, claiming losses of more than $7 million, according to court records.
The complexity of the criminal investigation caused the yearlong delay in arresting Yeomans, according to Varnau.