Press Release: Former Accounting Manager at Ramar Foods International Pleads Guilty to Major Financial Crime Scheme

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A former employee of Ramar Foods International in Pittsburg has pleaded guilty at her arraignment on March 30 to felony grand theft embezzlement, identity theft, money laundering, and tax evasion.

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The Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office reached a negotiated disposition or plea agreement with 60-year-old Mary Antoinette Narvaez Hernandez. Hernandez was the accounting manager at Ramar Foods International when she committed financial crimes between 2016 and 2021. During that time, she embezzled a total of $1,399,342.84 from the company and failed to pay $97,568 in taxes to the State of California.

District Attorney Diana Becton noted that, “Financial crimes are often complicated. That’s why our Major Financial Crimes Unit has forensic accountants who can investigate complex illegal schemes and why we have attorneys with expert knowledge of white-collar crime. The goal is always to get justice for victims. A plea agreement like this one is an effective way for the victims to receive financial restitution from what was stolen from them — and for the state to recover tax revenue that was unlawfully evaded by the defendant.”

Hernandez has already paid restitution to the victims in the amount of $410,198.90, has cooperated with Pittsburg Police, and has accepted responsibility in the matter. At the arraignment, one of the victims, the President of Ramar Foods Susie Quesada spoke in court saying Hernandez “had many friends in our company who also trusted her and helped her. It is with deep regret now that we look upon the years of working with Mary Anna tainted with lies and deception.” Ms. Quesada concluded: “It is for our employees, who like our family, were betrayed by her deception and thievery, that we applaud the myriad law enforcement professionals and this court for bringing her to justice.”

Part of the agreement includes a stay away order from Ramar Foods International, that she pays restitution, taxes owed, cannot possess firearms, arming devices, or ammunition, and must pay for the cost of the investigation and prosecution. She was sentenced to a seven-year suspended state prison sentence, three years formal probation supervision, with one year in the county jail. She can apply to serve jail time through the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Custody Alternative Facility. Her probation supervision includes strict terms and conditions calculated to protect the community against further financial crimes by Ms. Hernandez. A violation of any of these terms or conditions will impose the suspended seven-year prison sentence.

Ryan Ford

Ryan Ford is currently finishing his senior year at Saint Mary's College of California, double-majoring in Music and Communication. He has been a writer for the Saint Mary's school newspaper, The Collegian, for two years now, and currently serves as the Co-Editor-in-Chief and Head of Sports Section of the college news publication. He hopes to pursue a career in sports journalism post-graduation.