VENTURA, Calif. - An Oxnard woman has been charged with nine felony fraud counts for accusations that she defrauded an elderly dependent woman of more than half a million dollars.
Inez Marie Byars, 34, of Oxnard was charged in Ventura County Superior Court on Friday.
Byars was a longtime bookkeeper for an elderly and disabled Oxnard resident who owns a real estate company. An investigation by the Oxnard Police Department uncovered years of embezzlement and misappropriation of corporate and personal funds on the part of Byars. Investigators say Byars routinely forged checks and misused a company debit card for her own personal benefit.
Byars was able to hide the theft for years by not making property tax payments on property's the company managed.
Byars was arrested last Wednesday and booked into the Ventura County Jail. Her bail is set at $1.5 million. She pleaded not guilty to all charges last Friday.
She is due back in court this Friday. If convicted she could face a maximum of 14 years in prison.