Surprise party ends in arrest

FOX 4 Staff

Ruth Amen

Surprise party ends in arrest

CREATED Mar. 27, 2013

BOCA GRANDE, Fla. - A surprise birthday party backfired for a longtime office manager of a Boca Grande business who now finds herself facing embezzlement charges.

Ruth Amen decided to throw the surprise bash for her boss.  It ended with the arrest of the 46-year-old Boca Grande woman.

Amen was the former office manager for Gulf to Bay Realty, a position she held for more than ten years.  As office manager, Amen was solely responsible for handling business finances including billing and payroll.

Ironically, it was Amen's decision to pay for a surprise birthday for one of her bosses, without permission, that brought the issue to light.  Following that incident, company officials looked at Amen's bookkeeping practices more closely and discovered problems.

An investigation by the Lee County Sheriff's Office Economic Crimes Unit showed Amen was stealing from the business, to the tune of $181,674.00.

The investigation revealed Amen used nearly $92,000 in company finances to pay personal credit card debt, issued herself "extra" paychecks totaling $65,000 and failed to deduct the cost of insurance from her paychecks.

Amen is charged with grand theft and scheme to defraud, both first degree felonies.