Chief of Police
505 Forest Avenue
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|PRESS RELEASE 20170607|
|Subject :||Laguna Beach Resident Charged with Defrauding Orange County Businesses |
|Contact :||Sergeant Jim Cota, Public Information Officer 949-494-6671|
Laguna Beach Resident Charged with Defrauding Orange County Businesses of over $1.5 million
On January 26, 2016, LBPD Economic Crimes Detectives began a fraud investigation against Elizabeth Mulder, a resident of Laguna Beach. The investigation began when a Laguna Beach business owner identified Mulder as his accountant and alleged that Mulder embezzled $200,000 from his wine business, JAC Wines.
Search warrants executed by LBPD Detectives at the Mulder residence and her bank accounts revealed additional victim businesses throughout Orange County. These companies included Toni & Guy Hair Salon (Newport Beach), Kurtz-Ahlers LLC (San Juan Capistrano), Bella Pilates (San Clemente), Andra Builders, Inc. (Costa Mesa), and California Print 2 Copy (Irvine).
The investigation revealed that between July 2009 and May 2016, Mulder was an accountant and the President of Mulder Financial Consulting. At the time, Mulder was a salesperson for a supplier of soil and fertilizer. Mulder devised and executed a scheme to defraud and obtain money from small businesses by gaining the trust of their owners, some of whom allowed her to gain control over their financial accounts. Mulder deceived clients into making checks payable to a phony business she created called “Income Tax Payments,” under the guise that those payments would satisfy the clients’ outstanding IRS tax obligations. She also created false personas as representatives and/or investors of companies to lead her clients to believe various expenses were being paid for the benefit of the business.
Through this and other means, Mulder embezzled over $1.5 million from her victims, according to documents filed in federal court.
"This investigation serves as a reminder that our police department will pursue individuals in positions of trust who take advantage of innocent victims. We brought in every available resource, including our partners from the Federal Government, to ensure that this case would be appropriately prosecuted and justice would be served,” said Captain Jeff Calvert, LBPD. Mulder used the money embezzled from the victims for a variety of personal expenses including a rental home in Laguna Beach, cosmetic surgery, personal vacations, living expenses, horse rentals and the purchase of horse equipment.
When sentenced, Mulder faces up to 23 years in prison. This case was investigated by the Laguna Beach Police Department Investigations Division, with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the IRS Criminal Investigation, and the United States Attorney.
For further information, please contact Sergeant Jim Cota at (949) 464-6671