A Lake Forest woman pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of stealing $1.5 million from an orthopedic practice in Newport Beach while working as the company’s bookkeeper.

Tina Marie Reyes, 46, was charged Tuesday with 36 counts of grand theft with sentencing-enhancement allegations of aggravated white collar crime exceeding $500,000. After she entered her plea in the jail courtroom of Santa Ana, Reyes was ordered to return to court for a pretrial hearing Monday in the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach.

Reyes is accused of stealing from California Orthopaedic Specialists Inc. of Newport Beach from August 2014 through July of 2017, according to court records.

A contractor’s complaint of failure to get paid prompted one of the practice’s doctors to contact Reyes, who was on vacation in Europe, according to the complaint. She said she would take care of it when she returned, but Dr. Scott Forman decided to take a closer look at bank statements and realized there were “larger-than-average sums going into a group account for the practice,” according to the criminal complaint.

“Forman then noticed credit balances on company credit cards that were extremely high” and that Reyes had made personal purchases, according to the complaint.

Reyes was fired when she returned from her vacation at the end of June 2017, according to court records.

She had been hired to replace a bookkeeper of 21 years, who retired in 2014.

“She was able to hide her theft by transferring just enough contributions from each individual doctor to cover the payments on the credit cards on all her charges and the company’s monthly payments, and then transfer money back into a doctor’s individual accounts to make them appear whole,” the complaint alleges. “A complete forensic audit revealed that defendant stole approximately $1.5 million.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *