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Former Bakery Accountant Accused Of Stealing More Than $235K

SANTA ANA (CBS) — A former accountant for a Brea-based bakery chain was arrested Wednesday on charges of using company-issued credit cards to steal lots of dough, but not the kind you eat.

Ligia Baciu, 35, was arrested at her Fullerton home by Brea police on multiple charges stemming from the alleged embezzlement which, they say, adds up to $236,000.

Prosecutors allege she used the stolen money to buy an engagement ring, pay for fertility treatments, put a down payment on an Audi, as well as paying for car insurance, groceries and other goods at Costco, Deputy District Attorney Marc Labreche said.

Baciu worked in accounting at Sweet Life Enterprises from August 2005 to October 2009, Labreche said. In 2007, the company was acquired by Fresh Start Bakeries Inc., which got its start making hamburger buns for McDonald's.

Baciu, who was responsible for the company's credit card accounts, allegedly began stealing from the company in February 2008, Labreche said.

She managed to conceal the theft by ordering bills from the credit card companies that she could manipulate to make it look like the expenses were from various other employees, Labreche alleged.

Baciu was laid off from her job in October 2009, but allegedly kept using the credit cards. Her replacement in accounting uncovered the alleged theft in January 2010, Labreche said.

"We had to get search warrants at a lot of different businesses," the prosecutor said in explaining the delay in the arrest.

Baciu, who was being held on $250,000 bail, was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday on 21 counts of computer access and fraud; three counts of fraudulently using credit cards. with sentence-enhancing allegations for losses of more than $100,000, aggravated white-collar crime of more than $100,000, and property losses of more than $200,000.

Baciu could face up to 20 years and four months in prison if convicted.


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