Thursday, September, 22, 2005

Marshall County couple pleads guilty to embezzling thousands from employer

Shelby County, Tenn., District Attorney Bill Gibbons announced Monday that a Slayden, Miss., couple pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $199,000 dollars from their employer, Memphis Pediatrics, PLLC, over a 34 month period.

Amy Vaquera pleaded guilty as charged to theft of property over $60,000 (a class B felony) and her husband, Antonio Vaquera, pleaded guilty to facilitation to commit theft of property over $10,000 (a class D felony). Pursuant to the negotiated plea agreement, Amy Vaquera was sentenced to 7.2 years in prison, which was suspended, and put on 10 years probation. As part of her probation, Amy Vaquera is required to serve 60 days in jail, perform 500 hours of community service, and pay back $133,729 to the Memphis Pediatrics, among other conditions. Antonio Vaquera was sentenced to two years, which was suspended, and put on probation for six years. As part of his probation, he is required to serve 30 days in jail, perform 300 hours community service, and pay back $65,867 to the medical practice.

Amy Vaquera worked as the office manager for Memphis Pediatrics until November 2003. She handled deposits of cash and checks, purchased supplies, and managed the office’s payroll. An anonymous note to one of the doctors launched a review of the office records which revealed more than $119,000 missing from cash deposits and unauthorized pay Amy Vaquera had given herself and Antonio Vaquera. Personal charges were made by the Vaqueras to the Memphis Pediatrics credit cards for items including airline tickets, charges at Beau Rivage and the Adams Mark Daytona Beach Resort, NBA tickets, Onstar service, and a number of other personal purchases. The total taken by the Vaqueras was $199,596, according to the DA.

Assistant District Attorney Linda Kirklen, chief prosecutor in the D.A.’s Fraud and Economic Crime Unit, prosecuted this case.

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