Most people know to steer clear of internet scams, such as those asking for thousands of dollars and financial information in exchange for millions. However, one woman in Moorpark, California, fell victim to one of these fraudulent deals, and embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from her employer.
Luellen Levya, who worked as a bookkeeper for marketing firm Advantek, is accused of stealing more than $500,000 from the company to give to a man she had met on the internet. Levya struck up an online relationship with a man by the name of David Mark, who claimed to be a wealthy businessman living abroad. Over the span of about a year, she would send money to Mark through transfers from her bank account. Prosecutors say that an accounts payable audit revealed that Levya obtained this money by writing unauthorized checks to herself from her company's accounts and forging the signature of one of Advantek's owners.
Levya allegedly was wiring the funds to help her boyfriend, and later fiance, raise money to get his so-called business partners out of jail. At one point, Mark told her that he was planning on visiting her in the United States, but then contacted her to let her know he had supposedly been detained by immigration authorities. He asked Levya to send more money, which she did. Investigators believe that more than one person was involved in the scam, but since it happened outside of the country, there is not much that can be done.
Levya so far has pled not guilty to all felony forgery charges against her, as well as special allegations of excessive loss of more than $200,000. She is scheduled to appear in court in late September.