Suspect Embezzles from Palo Alto’s Rangoon Ruby, Burma Ruby

For release on October 6, 2021

CONTACT:

Paola Pretorius
Deputy District Attorney
Major Fraud Unit
(408) 792-2354

Suspect Embezzles from Palo Alto’s Rangoon Ruby, Burma Ruby

An Oakland woman is charged with embezzling more than $200,000 from her employer, the owner of two popular downtown Palo Alto restaurants, Rangoon Ruby and Burma Ruby.

Jennifer Colvin, 40, worked for Rangoon Ruby Investments, LLC and Burma Ruby Investments, LLC in Palo Alto, as director of human resources, payroll, and risk management. Colvin, who was in charge of payroll, is alleged to have increased her monthly salary and paid herself bonuses without authorization.

Colvin has been charged with two felony counts of theft by an employee. If convicted, she could face incarceration and be required to pay restitution to the company. Colvin is scheduled for arraignment today at 1:30 in Department 49 at the Hall of Justice on October 6, 2021.

“This theft happened during the height of the pandemic, when local restaurants were already struggling,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. “Please develop robust checks and balances for your business. Trust but verify. Your livelihood depends on it.”

Colvin’s alleged embezzlement happened between February 2019 and October 2020. The owner of Rangoon Ruby and Burma Ruby detected the fraud in November 2020 after noticing discrepancies in their accounting. Among other thefts, Colvin had given herself a couple of $15,000 bonuses. Investigators noted that the defendant made $65,000 payment for a Porsche.

The DA’s Office suggests the following steps to prevent embezzlement:

  • Set up dual authority so oversight is built into the handling of finances
    (i.e., employee handling accounting is not the same employee in charge of writing checks).
  • Run background checks for people who handle finances.
  • Hire a CPA firm do a sampling of transactions on a regular interval.
  • If you have a business with a high amount of cash transactions, keep good records, exercise high scrutiny and/or oversight, and/or consider converting to a non-cash business.
  • When you discover an employee has been stealing, report it immediately to the police.

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