Dolores Carr, District Attorney   CONTACT PERSON:
James Sibley, Deputy District Attorney
408-792-2823   For release on May 30, 2007   CAPITOLA BUSINESS OWNER ARRESTED ON EMBEZZLEMENT AND THEFT CHARGES   On May 29, 2007, investigators from the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office booked Capitola business owner Melanie Melim, 29 of Aptos on a $1,000,000 arrest warrant.  Melim, a former escrow officer with Alliance Title Company, is charged in a thirty-two county felony complaint with sixteen counts of grand theft and sixteen counts of embezzlement.  Those charges are enhanced by allegations of committing an aggravated white collar crime and losses exceeding $1 million.  As currently charged, Melim faces a maximum of twenty-one years in prison; however, the investigation into additional victims and other alleged crimes is ongoing.    Between May of 2004 and August of 2006, Melim worked in the Campbell office of Alliance Title.  Following her departure, an audit of the 455 files she handled during her tenure revealed discrepancies in over 180 escrows.  She is currently charged with misappropriating over $1.5 million from escrow accounts belonging to sixteen clients.  Thefts from dozens of other clients remain under investigation, with additional charges likely.  While much of the proceeds were diverted to cover up her past embezzlement, nearly $700,000 remains outstanding.   ###

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