Tiffany Ann Trout, 26, of Modesto, and her 23-year-old sister, Hilliary Lynn Trout, of Delhi, both face three felony charges for actions they allegedly committed while working for Dhillon Hospitality Management Inc., 2160 W. Grant Line Road.
According to Deputy District Attorney Stephen Taylor, the sisters’ former employer, Rupinder Dhillon, told police the sisters wiped out the company’s financial files, shredded records and removed accounting and human resources information before going to lunch April 4, 2011, and never returning.
Taylor said police found that the sisters were covering up their padding of the payroll and other acts of embezzlement before they walked away from their jobs in the company’s accounting department.
Defendant Tiffany Trout was hired in February 2009 as a clerk and later became the office manager, Taylor said. Hilliary Trout was hired in July 2009 as a bookkeeper-accountant to work with her sister.
At the time of the alleged crimes, Taylor said, Dhillon Hospitality Management was handling human resources for 14 hotels in California and outside the state. The management company was responsible for the hotels’ finances, according to the lead investigator for the case, Detective Robert Brandi of the Tracy Police Department.
On July 9, the Trout sisters were arraigned in the Manteca branch of San Joaquin County Superior Court for charges of embezzlement, conspiracy and falsifying or destroying corporate books. They were given court-appointed attorneys and told to return at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 20.
During the initial hearing, the sisters’
lawyers were given information about the evidence against their clients, according to Taylor, the prosecutor. He said they did not enter pleas.
Taylor said Tiffany Trout allegedly opened a Costco American Express card in the business’ name and paid for more than $10,000 in personal charges using the company bank account. The bills were reportedly sent to a post-office box she controlled.
“Got to have checks and balances and people watching accounts,” Taylor said. “Not just one bookkeeper doing this for months and months and nobody caught it.”
Dhillon also told police that Tiffany Trout wrote numerous checks for tens of thousands of dollars without his knowledge and that the sisters gave each other unearned bonuses using the company payroll system.
Taylor said he recommends that business owners take out embezzlement insurance to protect themselves.
“What small businesses fail to understand is that the losses involve not just whatever the employee steals, but collateral losses from the unpaid taxes and bills typically concealed in order to fund the embezzlements,” Taylor said. “The consequential damages can ruin a business.”
Brandi said Dhillon Hospitality Management went out of business.
Taylor said it closed partly as a result of the alleged embezzlement.