Ex-bookkeeper pleads guilty to embezzlement from tribal group

The former bookkeeper for Peridot Shopping Center. Inc. in Peridot, Arizona, is accused of embezzling more than $270,000 from the business after an accounts payable audit discovered theft.

Holley Faye Youvella served as the bookkeeper for the shopping center, which is owned by the San Carlos Apache Tribe. Prosecutors allege that Youvella embezzled the organization's funds between October 2008 and March 2010, and stole a total of $268,106 during that time period. She is charged with writing approximately 237 fraudulent checks from the center's checking account, which she made out to herself or family members. The illegal activity was uncovered after an accounts payable audit was conducted.

The Associated Press reports that Youvella embezzled $4,301 from June to August 2010 by making unauthorized electronic payments to her own personal credit and utility accounts. She pled guilty to all charges in U.S. District Court and is awaiting sentencing on October 15.

Youvella could face up to five years in prison as well as a $250,000 fine. The investigation was led by the FBI, the San Carlos Apache Tribal Police and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 

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