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13-093 Detectives Arrest Seminole Woman For Stealing Over $100,000 From Her Employer; And Using Funds To Pay Restitution

Who:
Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
Investigative Operations Bureau
-Economic Crimes Unit

Kristina E. Melvin (Arrested)
DOB: 12/11/1967
Address: 8184 129th Street N. Seminole
Arrested for Grand Theft over $100,000 and Violation of Probation

What:
Detectives assigned to the Economic Crimes Unit have arrested a Seminole woman after she embezzled over $100,000 from her employer - Seats and Chairs.com. While employed as the Office Manager/Bookkeeper, the suspect obtained the money from the victim’s corporate bank account through fraudulent means. The theft of funds occurred via a PayPal account; through the falsification of payroll records; and through the inappropriate use of a company issued credit card

The suspect used a portion of the stolen monies to make monthly restitution payments, while on felony probation for a previous Grand Theft over $100,000. This is a Pinellas Park Police case from 2008.

When:
The suspect was arrested on Wednesday, May 1, 2013.

The investigation began in March of 2012.

Where:
The suspect worked out of her private residence located at 8184 129th Street North in Seminole.

Why/How:
According to detectives between January 1, 2011 and December 29, 2011, the suspect identified as 45-year-old Kristina Melvin, while employed as the Office Manager/Bookkeeper for Seats and Chairs.com embezzled a total of $105,040.01 from her employer’s corporate bank account.

Seats and Chairs.com purchases merchandise (ie, stadium and theater seats) from multiple vendors and resells the items for a profit.

Through their investigation detectives determined the suspect created a fictitious PayPal account with a business name that closely resembled the name of one of the company’s legitimate long-time vendors. The fictitious account was linked to the suspect bank account. The suspect sent multiple invoices from the fictitious PayPal account to Seats and Chairs and then paid theses invoices from her employer’s bank account through her employer’s PayPal account to her PayPal account. Detectives say the funds were ultimately received by the suspect’s bank account and used for personal gain. According to detectives about $98,601.99 were obtained through these means.

Furthermore, detectives say Melvin wrote three checks from this bank account – totaling $4,010.49- to pay restitution. Melvin is on felony probation for a previous grand theft case she had committed in 2008. This case was investigated by the Pinellas Park Police Department.

Detectives say in her capacity as Office Manager/Bookkeeper Melvin was tasked with providing an offsite payroll company with information regarding employee work hours. The suspect added fraudulent “stipend” amounts to her own compensation. As a result, the payroll company released a total of $5600 to the suspect between April and December of 2012.

According to detectives, the suspect also used a company issued credit card to make a payment in the amount of $838.02 to a company in Venice Fl – to cover costs of a horse show the suspect participated in.

The suspect was arrested on April 1, 2013 for Grand Theft over $100,000 and Violation of Probation and was transported to the Pinellas County Jail without further incident.

The investigation continues.

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