Oxnard woman pleads guilty to embezzling over $700k from elderly victim

VENTURA, Calif. - An Oxnard woman charged with defrauding an elderly victim out of over half a million dollars while working as a bookkeeper has pleaded guilty to seven felony charges.

Inez Marie Byars, 44, pleaded guilty to charges of grand theft, forgery, elder/dependent fraud and identity theft, according to Ventura County District Attorney Gregory D. Totten. 

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 on the part of Byars. Investigators say she 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.

To date, Byars embezzled $742,000, Totten said. 

She had initially pleaded not guilty to the charges in April. She remains in custody and will be in court again on September 3.

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