Rangoon Ruby and Burma Ruby employee accused of embezzling $200,000

Burma Ruby on University Avenue in Palo Alto. Photo from Google Streetview
Burma Ruby on University Avenue in Palo Alto. Google photo.

By the Daily Post staff

An employee of Palo Alto restaurants Rangoon Ruby and Burma Ruby has been charged with embezzling $200,000 and using some of the money to buy a Porsche, the Santa Clara County District Attorney announced today (Oct. 6).

Jennifer Colvin, 40, worked for Rangoon Ruby Investments LLC and Burma Ruby Investments LLC in Palo Alto, as director of human resources, payroll, and risk management. Colvin, who was in charge of payroll, is alleged to have increased her monthly salary and paid herself bonuses without authorization.

Colvin allegedly embezzled from the restaurants between February 2019 and October 2020. The owner of Rangoon Ruby and Burma Ruby detected the fraud in November 2020 after noticing accounting discrepancies.

Among other thefts, Colvin had given herself a couple of $15,000 bonuses.

Investigators noted that the defendant made $65,000 payment for a Porsche.

“This theft happened during the height of the pandemic, when local restaurants were already struggling,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a statement. “Please develop robust checks and balances for your business. Trust but verify. Your livelihood depends on it.”

Rangoon Ruby, at 445 Emerson St., specializes in “relaxed Burmese” dining with exotic tiki cocktails. Burma Ruby, 326 University Ave., is a white tablecloth Burmese eatery.

Prevent embezzlement

The DA’s Office suggests the following steps to prevent embezzlement:

  • Set up dual authority so oversight is built into the handling of finances
    (i.e., employee handling accounting is not the same employee in charge of writing checks).
  • Run background checks for people who handle finances.
  • Hire a CPA firm do a sampling of transactions on a regular interval.
  • If you have a business with a high amount of cash transactions, keep good records, exercise high scrutiny and/or oversight, and/or consider converting to a non-cash business.
  • When you discover an employee has been stealing, report it immediately to the police.

 

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