Auto Dealership Employee Accused of Embezzlement

The exact amount stolen is believed to be over $100,000 over a significant period of time investigators say

A 13-year employee for Drew Ford in La Mesa is accused of embezzling more than $100,000 over a "significant period of time," according to police.

La Mesa police officers arrested Lizeth Ochoa, 35, at her San Diego home Wednesday on charges of felony embezzlement and burglary.

Employees alerted police about their suspicions back in November. Detectives then worked the case for months and arrested Ochoa Wednesday morning.

Police say they're now going through Drew Ford's databases to see when Ochoa started stealing.

“We don't have the exact time frame because often with embezzlement cases, it's hard to determine when exactly it started,” La Mesa Police Lt. Matt Nicholass said.

Managers said they couldn't believe Ochoa would steal from the company.

Co-workers said she came to work every day and was dedicated to her job as a telecommunications director.

“The whole staff and management were surprised that this happened,” Nicholass said. “The staff we worked with basically said she was a very respected and dedicated employee to the organization.”

Drew Ford has been in business for nearly 85 years.

Even with that experience, police say it took some time for managers to realize that a veteran employee could be stealing.

“She was using some techniques that were challenging for police and for staff to recognize,” Nicholass said.

Police won't say what those techniques were.       

Ochoa was booked at Las Colinas Women’s Detention Center. A judge ordered her bail set at $1,000,000 because police were worried that she would flee.

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