Jul 26, 2014
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Two Dozen Felony Charges Filed Against Mission Viejo Businesswoman Accused of Stealing Funds

Two Dozen Felony Charges Filed Against Mission Viejo Businesswoman Accused of Stealing Funds

A Mission Viejo woman accused of misappropriating nearly $750,000 from the Wildomar-based property investment firm in which she was a partner was charged Thursday with more than two dozen felonies.

Celeste Marie Avellana, 62, was arrested Tuesday following a seven-month investigation into alleged illegal activity committed by the Mission Viejo resident, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

She was slated to make her initial court appearance Thursday afternoon at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta on 28 counts of forgery, five counts of grand theft and one count of falsifying records, along with a sentence- enhancing allegation of committing a felony resulting in losses of more than $500,000.

According to sheriff's Lt. Zachary Hall, investigators believe Avellana misappropriated funds that were intended for distribution to her associates at Potter & Schleuniger, a California limited liability company that handles rental properties throughout the region.

Hall did not disclose how long the alleged thefts had occurred, or the manner in which the defendant allegedly attempted to conceal the activity. According to the sergeant, Avellana acted in the capacity of a controller in the business venture.

She was arrested without incident at her office on Rancho Parkway and booked into the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta, where she's being held in lieu of $746,000 bail.


– City News Service.


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