A former SeaWorld San Diego manager is accused of embezzling more than $750,000 in an elaborate eight-year scheme, federal prosecutors announced Monday.
Wilfred David Joseph Jobin-Reyes, 47, is accused of setting up a fake merchandise company, "SJ Merchandise," and using his position at SeaWorld to create invoices for items that were never delivered to the park.
Jobin-Reyes allegedly made an alias, "John Caldwell," to communicate with SeaWorld in order to hide his ties to the company, U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said. The money went into accounts he secretly controlled.
Investigators said Jobin-Reyes used his work computer to create more than 100 fake invoices for objects that were never delivered to SeaWorld San Diego, including "wildlife animal bookmarks," "sea creature rings," "purple shiny ornaments" and "poinsettia in pots."
Jobin-Reyes allegedly created invoices for amounts under the $10,000 threshold that would require his managers to approve the invoice, Duffy said.
SeaWorld paid Jobin-Reyes more than $750,000 before officials discovered the fraud in early 2015.
"We are dedicated to protecting our local businesses and institutions from corruption inside and out," said Duffy in a statement. "We will root out and prosecute business insiders who abuse the trust of their employers and the community."
A SeaWorld San Diego spokesperson said the company has been cooperating with federal law enforcement in this case and would not comment further on personnel matters.
Jobin-Reyes was arrested March 12 in Dallas and appeared in court in San Diego on Monday. He is facing fraud charges and could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Information on an attorney for Jobin-Reyes was not immediately available.