The longtime office manager of a Boca Grande business faces embezzlement charges after a surprise birthday party for her boss backfires into a paper trail of fraudulent transactions.

Ruth Amen, DOB 9-3-66, of 372 Baily Street, Boca Grande was arrested last night (March 25).

Amen was the former office manager for Gulf to Bay Realty, a position she held for more than ten years. As office manager, Amen was solely responsible for handling business finances including billing and payroll.

Ironically, it was Amen’s decision to pay for a surprise birthday party for one of her bosses, without permission, that brought the issue to light. Following that incident, company officials looked at Amen’s bookkeeping practices more closely and discovered problems.

An investigation by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Unit revealed that Amen was indeed stealing money from the business, to the tune of $181,674.00. The investigation revealed Amen used nearly $92,000 in company finances to pay personal credit card debt, issued herself “extra” paychecks totaling $65,000 and failed to deduct the cost of insurance from her paychecks.

Amen is charged with Grand Theft and Scheme to Defraud, both First degree felonies.