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Woman Accused Of Embezzling $700,000 From Employer In Ventura County

Posted on Friday, September 7, 2012 4:27pm

A Ventura County woman is accused of embezzling some $700,000 from a Moorpark business, in what investigators say was an effort help a fiancee who never existed.

Ventura County Sheriff’s detectives say Luellen Leyva wrote checks to herself, and wired more than $500,000 to an overseas account she believed belonged to a wealthy man she met on the internet she thought she was going to marry. The e-mails from the man claimed he needed help in winning an expensive legal battle over immigration issues, and that once he won, he would come to the U.S. so they could marry.

Detectives say she made repeated transfers to the account in response to what turned out to be phony pleas for help. They determined it was a fraud scheme run by a criminal organization based in Africa. They say the fiancee never existed.

The 58 year old Newbury Park woman is being held in the Ventura County Jail, in lieu of $200,000 bail.

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