Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The former operations manager for a Carlsbad-based contractors’ insurance company has been sentenced to nearly two years in federal prison for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the company, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.

Antonia Barber, 52, of San Diego, took $726,060.75 from Target Financial and Insurance Services over the course of seven years, prosecutors said.

Barber pleaded guilty last year to a federal wire fraud charge and was sentenced Monday to 21 months in prison.

Prosecutors said beginning in 2008, Barber wrote “hundreds” of checks to a family member for “Records Management” services that were never provided, and later began writing checks to herself — totaling more than $600,000 — for “expense reimbursement.”

Barber’s position in the company allowed her to approve reimbursement requests from employees and issue reimbursement checks.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said she later falsely told the company’s owner that it was struggling financially, prompting the owner to put more money into the company to keep it afloat and avoid layoffs.

Prosecutors say the owner eventually discovered the thefts and reported it to law enforcement.

“This defendant abused her position of trust to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “This sentence is a reminder that there will be a price to pay for employees who use company coffers as a personal bank account.”

— City News Service