The sheriff’s department Thursday announced the arrests of 15 employees of the Walmart in Palm Desert on suspicion of embezzlement and conspiracy for allegedly loading money onto store gift cards and making more than 1,000 unauthorized purchases.

Sheriff’s deputies arrested 22 of 24 suspects Wednesday at the Walmart at 34500 Monterey Ave., sheriff’s Sgt. Kirk Steines said. He said 15 employees were booked into county jail, while the remaining suspects were released pending further investigation.

The sergeant said the suspects are accused of using a “fraudulent coupon card” to load money onto store gift cards. Steines said property that was purchased with the gift cards has since been recovered.

The arrested employees were identified as:

— Lidia Estrada, 33, of Palm Springs;

— Daniel Gonzalez, 41, of Palm Desert;

— Marianne Calizo, 21, of Palm Desert;

— Maria Zelaya, 26, of Desert Hot Springs;

— Imauny Marshall, 19, of Cathedral City;

— Carol Collins, 49, of Desert Hot Springs;

— Noemi Zelaya, 29, of Desert Hot Springs;

— Maria Contreras, 42, of La Quinta;

— Ariadna Mayorga, 21, of Desert Hot Springs;

— Alicia Herrera, 53, of Desert Hot Springs;

— Miguel Esteban, 25, of Bermuda Dunes;

— Roberto Luna, 29, of La Quinta;

— Selene Melchor-Molina, 31, of Desert Hot Springs;

— Amy Vasquez, 31, of La Quinta; and

— Edwin Rios, 19, of Desert Hot Springs.

Jail records show that most of the 15 posted bail after being booked at the Riverside County jail in Indio.

Anyone with information regarding the case was asked to call the Palm Desert sheriff’s station at (760) 836-1600.

–City News Service

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.