Federal courthouse
Federal courthouse in downtown San Diego. Photo by Chris Stone

A Chula Vista woman who worked as an office manager for a local healthcare provider pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge Tuesday for taking more than $350,000 from her former employer and its clients.

Ana Phimmasone, 37, admitted that beginning in 2016, she stole checks issued by the unidentified company, which the U.S. Attorney’s Office said provides in-home care services, primarily for senior citizens.

Prosecutors said Phimmasone deposited the checks into her bank account, with the initial theft totaling nearly $26,000.

Over the next two years, she used credit card information from the company’s clients to bill them using electronic payment services such as PayPal, Venmo, Square and Apple Pay, then moved the money into her accounts.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, she told clients the company switched from its usual payment processing company to PayPal in order to make the scheme seem legitimate. Prosecutors said she also hid her activity by creating a fake PayPal account using someone else’s name and personal information and billed victims’ credit cards using that account.

According to the plea agreement, two clients’ family members were overbilled by more than $230,000. Prosecutors said Phimmasone created fake invoices for the two victims to fraudulently inflate the amounts due.

As part of her guilty plea, Phmimasone has agreed to pay $352,586.22 in restitution to her former employer, as well as individual victims. She’s set to be sentenced in March in San Diego federal court.

City News Service contributed to this article.