NEW HAVEN — A Southington woman who pleaded guilty to charges of bank fraud for embezzling $370,000 from her former employer has been sentenced to serve two years in federal prison sentence.
The prison sentence for Lydia Cabrera, 37, of Southington, will be followed by three years of supervised release, according to a news release issued by the office of U.S. Attorney John H. Durham.
Cabrera, who has been out on bond since entering a guilty plea in October 2019, is scheduled to report to prison on Jan. 5, 2021, Durham’s office stated.
According to Durham, Cabrera committed the fraud as part of an embezzlement scheme that continued throughout her employment as a bookkeeper for A2Z Home Medical Supplies.
The scheme began 10 days after Cabrera began working for A2Z, where she was employed from August 2016 until August 2018.
Durham's office said Cabrera was given access to her employer's online merchant payment system as part of her job’s responsibilities. However, Cabrera began using that system to steal from the company, by entering what Durham’s office said had been approximately 272 false claims of customers seeking refunds.
The federal investigators who investigated the fraud discovered Cabrera had entered her personal debit card information to embezzle those refunds into her own own bank account.
Cabrera, who was arrested in March 2019, had faced a maximum 30-year-prison sentence if found guilty of the charges.
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer in New Haven issued the sentence. In addition to the prison term, Meyer ordered Cabrera to pay her employer full restitution.
As part of her job responsibilities, Cabrera was given access to A2Z’s online merchant payment system. Approximately 10 days after being hired by A2Z, Cabrera began to use A2Z’s online merchant payment system to steal from the company by falsely representing that customers of A2Z had sought a return of their funds. On approximately 272 occasions, Cabrera input her personal debit card information as the card to which the funds should be returned. Through this scheme, Cabrera embezzled approximately $370,000.
Judge Meyer ordered Cabrera to make full restitution to A2Z.
According to Durham, those were not the first embezzlement charges Cabrera had faced. She had worked as a bookkeeper for a home healthcare aid company prior to working for A2Z, Durham stated. She was found guilty of stealing around $68,000 from that company, in a fraud scheme that was prosecuted in New Britain Court.
Cabrera received a suspended 10-year prison sentence and ordered to serve five years probation, according to judicial records.