A woman accused of writing more than $1.1 million in fraudulent checks to herself using her employer’s bank account pleaded guilty to 10 counts of bank fraud.
Teresa Pereda signed a plea agreement that was filed in the District Court of Guam on Jan. 31, admitting that she diverted money from Dr. Robert Gatewood’s company for her own use by writing unauthorized company checks to herself and associated entities for eight years.
Managed victim’s office for 27 years
Pereda was the office manager for Gatewood and had worked for him for 27 years.
The scheme began in 2011, when Pereda wrote a check to an entity associated with her, Nored Inc., in the amount of $7,317. A week later, a check for $3,397 was written out to Transpacific Association Inc.
Two more checks were written totaling $9,006 in 2011.
In 2012, Pereda wrote six checks totaling nearly $24,000.
In the subsequent years, Pereda continued writing unauthorized checks increasing the amount she took from her employer.
In 2014, she wrote two checks totaling $15,500. In 2015, four checks worth $26,950 were cashed and deposited into her accounts. In 2016, checks ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 were written to Pereda or Blessed Wholesale totaling $55,444.
In 2017, she wrote five checks totaling $34,851. The following year, three checks totaled $30,585. The plea agreement states Pereda wrote seven fraudulent checks in January and February 2019 totaling $54,947.
Prosecutor: Pereda wrote 284 fraudulent checks
According to court documents, Pereda had access to the company’s bank account and routinely completed checks linked to the account in order to pay the company’s bills.
The government alleges she diverted money from the company for her own use by writing the 284 fraudulent checks to herself and other associated entities and submitted them to obtain cash and for subsequent deposits into bank accounts under her control.
Pereda obtained signed blank checks from her boss based on her fraudulent representation that the checks would be used to pay company bills.
The plea agreement states she falsified check stubs to make it appear the checks were issued for business purposes and she falsely recorded the transactions in the company’s ledger.
Pereda was indicted by a federal grand jury on Dec. 11, 2019, and charged with 40 counts of bank fraud. She was picked up by U.S. marshals and has been held in custody awaiting a status hearing scheduled for April 29 before Senior Judge John Coughenour.