A 40-year-old woman pleaded guilty Monday and was immediately sentenced to 14 days in jail, or credit for time served behind bars, to stealing more than $113,000 from the Irvine-based medical practice where she worked.
According to a motion prepared by Irvine Police Department civilian investigator Meredith Lelesi, Veronica Gonzalez Bustos sold products in the Healthy Living Store of the South Coast Center for New Medicine Inc.
Physicians at the center learned of a new cancer treatment product, Viscum Mali, while at a conference, but it was only available to order by individuals, so Bustos volunteered to buy the product on her credit card and receive reimbursement for her employers, Lelesi said.
Bustos placed orders for the product on her credit card from February through November 2017, but when she went on maternity leave, discrepancies in the billings she submitted for reimbursement were noticed, Lelesi said.
After requesting invoices for all of Bustos’ billings, “it was discovered Bustos was charging South Coast Medical Center for New Medicine more than the true sales transactions,” Lelesi said.
Bustos “profited $113,659.11” through the fraudulent billings, Lelesi said.
Bustos pleaded guilty to one felony count of grand theft. As part of the plea bargain nine other counts each of grand theft and making false entries in records or returns and three counts of money laundering, all felonies, were dismissed along with sentencing enhancement allegations of aggravated white-collar crime between $100,000 and $500,000.
Bustos was placed on two years of formal probation.
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