By Esmeralda Mendoza
The preliminary hearing for Sandra Louise Verdugo was held April 12 and two witnesses were asked to testify. Sandra Verdugo is being charged with embezzlement, as she allegedly stole her employer’s credit card to use it for unauthorized purchases.
The first witness, Detective Joshua Hermoso, explained that Ms. Verdugo was a paid caretaker for an elderly women, “Ms. R.” When Detective Hermoso began the investigation for theft in 2016 he found several unauthorized transactions, as well as security camera footage in which Ms. Verdugo was seen purchasing items without Ms. R. The transactions were from a variety of restaurants, grocery stores, and clothing stores.
In light of this, Ms. Verdugo was asked to go to the police station and explain to the detective her version of events. Once she was confronted with some evidence, Ms. Verdugo admitted to using the stolen credit card 10 times.
Ms. Verdugo explained that she used the credit card at a restaurant when she accidentally paid with the wrong card. She also admitted to adding extra items in Ms. R’s cart when she took her shopping. However, Ms. Verdugo denied the transactions at Burlington and Target – she claimed that she does not remember using it at either store.
Ms. Verdugo also explained to the detective that many of the transactions were at the request of Ms. R.
Detective Hermoso estimated the total theft by Ms. Verdugo to be upwards of $3,000.
The second witness was Ms. R, the elderly woman whose credit card was allegedly stolen by her caretaker, Ms. Verdugo. Ms. R testified that she and Ms. Verdugo would go to the store together. However, she allowed Ms. Verdugo to buy grocery items for her without being present only two times. Then, Ms. Verdugo kept the card and started using it for personal reasons.
Ms. R denied all claims that she sent Ms. Verdugo to buy her take-out food on her behalf and denied purchasing items at certain locations where she says she has never even been.
The preliminary hearing is set to resume in two weeks.