VENTURA, Calif. - An Oxnard woman who admitted to embezzling over $700,000 from an elderly and disabled victim while working as a bookkeeper was sentenced to nine years in prison.
Inez Marie Byars, 44, pleaded guilty to charges of grand theft, forgery, elder/dependent fraud and identity theft, in the case in August. Byars was charged in April after an investigation by the Oxnard Police Department.
Byars was a longtime bookkeeper for an elderly and disabled Oxnard resident who owns a real estate company. The investigation uncovered years of embezzlement and misappropriation of corporate and personal funds.
Investigators said she routinely forged checks and misused a company debit card for her own personal benefit and she was able to hide the theft for years by not making property tax payments on properties the company managed.
Byars was able to commit some of her fraud by posing as a close and loyal friend of her employer and his family, according to the Ventura County District Attorney's Office.
She's been in jail since her April arrest. Her bail was set at $1.5 million after an investigation revealed she had searched online for ways to kill her employer without getting caught.
In addition to serving nine years in prison, Byars has been ordered to pay $792,439 in restitution to the victim.