BevMo cashier skimmed thousands on fake refunds

A former BevMo cashier was sentenced to 45 days in jail and three years of probation Friday after pleading no contest to charges that she embezzled more than $10,500 from the retailer’s Burlingame location, San Mateo County prosecutors said Monday.

Prosecutors said Mary Carmen Vasquez, a 25-year-old San Mateo resident, embezzled $10,597 between October 2013 and January 2014 by logging fraudulent cash refunds for returned items like keg taps and tub deposits.

Vasquez made roughly 95 false returns and pocketed the cash. Several of those returns were documented on store surveillance cameras, according to the district attorney’s office. When confronted, Vasquez reportedly admitted to stealing roughly $1,000, prosecutors said. In November, Vasquez pleaded no contest to felony embezzlement charges in exchange for a maximum sentence of 45 days in jail.

Judge Jonathan Karesh denied a motion to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor, but said he would reconsider after the defendant serves half of her probation term. Vasquez has also been ordered to pay $5,216 in restitution to BevMo, in addition to court fees.

As part of her probation, Vasquez will be barred from employment with fiduciary duties, prosecutors said. Vasquez’s defense attorney, Raymond Buenaventura, could not be immediately reached for comment Monday┬ámorning.