Accused Embezzler Hangs Head, Denies Stealing $10M

An Escondido woman who made headlines after allegedly siphoning $10 million from her employer to go on apparent gambling and shopping sprees is now so broke that a judge on Tuesday assigned a public defense attorney to represent her, according to our media partner the North County Times.

Judge Marshall Hockett approved the appointment of a public defender to handle Annette Yeomans's case during her brief court appearance, at which she pleaded not guilty to 17 embezzlement-related counts, the paper reported.

Yeomans' bail remains at $10 million ---- twice that of a suspected cop-killer on trial in the same courthouse. Hockett said Yeomans is "a possible flight risk."

"It is not known if she has access to money, and the court is not going to take a chance," Hockett said. She has been jailed since her arrest on March 6.

Should Yeomans come up with bail money, she must first prove in court that the source of it is legitimate and completely separate from the money she is accused of swiping, according to the paper.

Court records filed in a civil lawsuit against the North County woman, show she owned five vehicles including a motor home, took trips to Italy and at one time had a $92,000 Nordstrom’s bill.

Yeomans and her husband John were both employees of Quality Woodworks in San Marcos.

Annette was the chief financial officer at Quality Woodworking in San Marcos from 2001 to 2007. In that time she allegedly embezzled close to $10 million. The money fueled gambling and shopping sprees totaling $1,000 a month, investigators said.

Criminal charges were brought after a credit card company smelled something fishy when they noticed payments were being made with company checks.

A closer look at the civil suit breaks down her outrageous spending habits. In 2007 and part of 2008, she paid:

$1 million+ to Chase Credit Card services
$92,873.52 to Nordstrom‘s
$48,552.05 to Neiman Marcus

“She admitted wrong doing and stated she wished that she had died before I found out what she did,” court records quote Quality Woodworks president Gregg Durmer.

Wished she had died, okay, but apparently not before buying a Motor Home, a GMC, a Cadillac, a Nissan, A Dodge and an off road vehicle.

A tool collection, a guitar collection, 400 pairs of shoes, 160 purses and $300,000 dollars in designer clothing were found in her closet, according to sheriff’s investigators.

How did she get away with it for so long? Investigators say she had control of the books and her employer trusted her.

As for John Yeomans, there are no criminal charges filed. Investigators say there's just not enough evidence. But in the civil suit, lawyers maintain, his failure to disclose the embezzlement was deliberate and he enjoyed enormous personal benefit that included vehicles, a gun and guitar colllection and tools.

In fact, when Durmer contacted John Yeomans at his home in March of 2008, Yeomans “stated that everything in their household belonged to Mr. Durmer,” according to court records.

Quality Woodworks Inc. dismissed the civil lawsuit in October after Annette Yeomans agreed to turn over all her assets to the custom cabinetry business, according to the North County Times.

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