Prosecutors have charged a former employee of the Mid-Peninsula Water District with stealing nearly $248,000 from the district over a three-year period in order to pay off gambling debts.
The allegations against 53-year-old Catherine Marie Abou-Remeleh of Hayward did not surface until she suffered a stroke in November 2011. A co-worker who took over her duties discovered discrepancies in the district’s financial records, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.
Between Nov. 3, 2008, and Nov. 22, 2011, Abou-Remeleh allegedly wrote 187 checks from a water district bank account that totaled $247,882.
Prosecutors recently filed charges against Abou-Remeleh following a lengthy investigation. She is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 12 on charges that include theft of government funds and identity theft.
“A full forensic audit was conducted and the embezzlement was discovered,” Wagstaffe said, adding that Abou-Remeleh is addicted to gambling and used the money to pay off her debts.
Due to the stroke she suffered, Abou-Remeleh is reportedly still living in an assisted-living facility, but she is supposed to be able to attend her court hearing.
The Mid-Peninsula Water District, formerly Belmont County Water District, supplies water to Belmont as well as parts of San Carlos, Redwood City and unincorporated San Mateo County.