published on January 9, 2018 - 9:13 AM
Written by Associated Press

(AP) — A former Fresno human resources executive has pleaded guilty to embezzling $1.5 million from her employer, an international food import company.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Sacramento said Monday that Leslie Michelle Hays embezzled the money from Fresno-based Borges USA between 2005 and 2014. According to prosecutors, Hays was in charge of reporting employees’ salaries and expenses to the company’s payroll processor.

Federal prosecutors said Hays directed the payroll processor to pay her an inflated salary and to reimburse fraudulent expenses. Borges is based in Spain, and Hays worked in the Fresno office until 2014.

Borges USA is one of the largest importers and marketers of Mediterranean specialty food products, and distributes products such as olive oil under the Star Fine Foods brand.

Her attorney, Richard Oberto, said the Fresno resident faces a sentence of up to five years in prison.

Oberto said he will argue for a lesser sentence based on so-called mitigating circumstances he declined to detail.

Related story: Fresno woman accused of embezzling $1 million from employer

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