Professional bookkeeper April Marie Riggs-Darin was hired by Santa Barbara Contractors Melgoza-Odale, Inc. to keep their books. But Riggs-Darin had bigger things in mind and promptly began reportedly cooking the books.
With complete access to her firm’s accounts at Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, officials say she violated all precepts of trust. Within a month of her employment, she was allegedly writing herself checks from the company accounts and paying her personal bills and credit cards with company drafts.
But when the company’s officers began receiving repeated dunning calls from vendors alleging late payments and bounced company checks, their attention was directed toward the bookkeeper.
When confronted by Melgoza-Odale executives, Riggs-Darin admitted “borrowing” funds and promised to repay them. Four months after her firing, however, she had not repaid any of the $17,000, and her former employers’ patience had reached the end.
Search warrants and examination of company financial records appeared to confirm suspicions of felony embezzlement.
Riggs-Darin is being held on $20,000 bail in the Santa Barbara County Jail.