A 76-year-old Bergen County guided-tour company manager told a federal judge Monday that she and a company accountant embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from their employer.
Estela Laluf of River Edge, began working at the East Rutherford-based company in 1989 and took a management position in 1996, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig said.
Between 2010 and 2016, she and the company accountant conspired to write checks against the company’s bank accounts to cash, as well as to various actual company employees and contractors, individuals and shell companies for work they didn't do, Honig said.
They two then converted the money to their personal use, the U.S. attorney said.
Laluf omitted the proceeds from her 2016 year tax return, Honig noted.
Rather than face trial, Laluf took a deal from the government, pleading guilty during a video conference Monday with a federal judge in Newark to wire fraud and subscribing to a false tax return.
U.S. District Judge Julien Xavier Neals scheduled sentencing for Jan. 24, 2022.
Honig credited postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and special agents of IRS – Criminal Investigation with the investigation leading to the plea secured by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Trombly of her Cybercrime Unit in Newark.
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