Court docs: Co-owner and girlfriend identified in reports as couple accused of embezzling millions from ag company

Crime Watch

Jon William Schmidt (L) and Deborah Hollis-Coburn (R) are suspected of embezzling $4 million from a local ag business. / Photo: Kern County Sheriff’s Office

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Two people arrested earlier this month on charges of embezzling more than $4 million from a local agricultural business are identified in court documents as a co-owner of the business and his live-in girlfriend.

Jon William Schmidt and Deborah Hollis-Coburn, both 56, of Tracy, Calif., were arrested Aug. 19 and have pleaded not guilty to 13 felonies including conspiracy to defraud, grand theft of property, embezzlement and theft or embezzlement from an elder or dependent adult. They are each held on $2 million bail.

Another co-owner of the business, which is not named in the documents, told sheriff’s investigators in 2017 that he sold 25 percent of the company to Schmidt two years earlier. He said Schmidt had embezzled about $300,000 from the company through checks he had written to himself and on authorized vendors, according to the recently released documents.

A three-year investigation uncovered evidence of millions of dollars having been embezzled, according to the documents. The thefts occurred in several forms, including unauthorized withdrawals from a line of credit, withholding property and changing the password on QuickBooks records, documents said.

The next hearing in the case is set for Sept. 17.

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