WESTMINSTER (CBS) — Two roommates were arraigned Monday afternoon on allegations that they stole a check from a Newport Beach law firm to splurge on a private jet to New York City, hotel rooms and a Tiffany & Co. shopping spree.
Sometime between Sept. 21 and Nov. 16, Alexa Johzen Polar, 34, and Robin Antonella Pabello, 33, stole a check for over $19,500 from the firm where Polar worked, the Orange County District Attorneys office said.
The pair reportedly removed the payee’s name and replaced it with Pabello’s, and then they forged the amount for $285,000, officials said.
On Nov. 16, authorities say the defendants used an ATM to deposit the check into an account jointly held by Polar, a paralegal, and Pabello, a second grade school teacher.
Investigators say the women used the money to charter a private jet to fly themselves and several friends to New York City, rent five rooms at a hotel in Times Square and go on a shopping spree at Tiffany & Co. and Montblanc.
The duo posted pictures of the trip on Facebook.
Polar and Pabello also are accused of obtaining cashier checks from the stolen funds to lease or purchase a $3.7 million, 11,000 square foot house in Murietta.
Bank officials discovered the thefts after “the issuing bank rejected the check that the receiving bank had processed,” the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said in a press release.
Polar and Pabello, both of Garden Grove, are each facing two felony counts of forgery, one felony count of grand theft, and one felony count of grand theft by embezzlement.
If convicted on all counts, they face a maximum of more than six years in prison. Bail was set at $285,000 for each woman. If bail is posted, Polar and Pabello must prove the money was not obtained fraudulently.