Woman faces prison for embezzling from Renton company

The Des Moines woman had created an account using identity of a deceased employee to file 58 different claims for reimbursement.

A U.S. District Court in Seattle has sentenced a 32-year-old woman to 10 months in prison following her scheme to steal nearly $400,000 from her Renton-based employer.

Trixie Dela Cruz of Des Moines had worked at the Renton company for six months before a promotion allowed her the access needed to begin her embezzlement scheme. The company administers employee benefits for employers throughout the country.

On March 28, Judge Lauren King sentenced Dela Cruz to three years of supervised release to follow the prison term. According to a news release, the judge said that Dela Cruz had “abused the trust” of her employer with a scheme that “involved planning and continuous affirmative conduct.”

Dela Cruz was hired by the company in October 2020 and was promoted to account associate in March of the following year where she she managed client accounts and approved claims for benefits. With her Account Associate access, Dela Cruz had created a duplicate account for a deceased employee of one of the clients, which was then connected to her own bank account. Dela Cruz would activate the profile for the fraudulent claim and then deactivate it so no record would show up for her company.

Dela Cruz had submitted and approved 58 fraudulent claims that totalled in $397,942.

The company discovered the fraud in Jan. 2022, fired Dela Cruz and reimbursed the client for the fraudulent claims.

According to forensic analysis, Dela Cruz had spent the money on gambling, cash application transfers to family and friends, and to pay for jewelry, travel, car payments and other shopping.

The judge ordered full restitution to Dela Cruz’s former employer and its insurance company, which paid the bulk of the company’s losses.