Car dealership employee set to be sentenced for embezzlement

Pled guilty to diverting about $80,000 for his personal use

Vanderboom

Vanderboom

The former sales manager of Lamb Nissan in Prescott is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 7 for embezzling about $80,000 earlier this year.

Between January 2017 and May 2017 Toby Vanderboom embezzled what is estimated to be $79,637.50 from the dealership he worked for by diverting customer payments to his personal use, according to a police probable cause statement.

Vanderboom pled guilty to the crime as part of a plea agreement on July 10. He agrees to pay restitution in the amount of $81,637.50 as part of the plea agreement. A Class 3 felony carries a presumptive sentence of 3.5 years, with a minimum/maximum sentence of 2.5/7 years (an aggravated sentence could be 8.75 years).

The maximum fine that can be imposed for each felony is $150,000 plus 83 percent in surcharges.

Ed Walsh, general manager of Lamb Nissan, eventually found out about the fraud as several red flags appeared within a matter of a few days.

First, a discrepancy report from the dealership’s office manager showed quite a few outstanding payments. Many of the missing payments were Vanderboom’s sales, the report says.

Vanderboom was told to correct his accounts as part of his normal business. He subsequently looked over the four-page report and made handwritten notes to explain the missing payments.

Two days after that incident, Lamb Nissan was contacted by a National Bank of Arizona fraud investigator to reference a reported fraud by Vanderboom where a reported stolen check was cashed at the dealership. Lamb Nissan did not take a check from Vanderboom. This prompted Walsh to look further into the missing money from Vanderboom’s accounts.

Vanderboom was then confronted by Walsh and they went over the report. Vanderboom admitted he took the money and that he had a gambling problem, according to the report. As they went over other questionable accounts, Vanderboom admitted to stealing from a number of other customers. It was estimated at the time that a total of 19 customer payments to the dealership totaling $74,974.75 had been diverted by Vanderboom to his personal use. Text messages from Vanderboom to his boss show Vanderboom apologizing and admitting to theft from one of the accounts. Vanderboom was fired as all of this unfolded.

Two additional fraudulent dealings were discovered soon after totaling an additional $4,662.75. Vanderboom told Walsh he had lost all of the money gambling.

“Vanderboom had been a trusted employee and was the sales manager,” the statement said. “The sales manager is normally the person who investigates the missing payments.”

On May 9, Vanderboom was contacted by the Prescott Police Department at his residence in Prescott. Vanderboom invoked his right to remain silent and was taken into custody later that day on charges of fraudulent schemes and artifices and theft.

Vanderboom posted bond for $25,000 on May 10. The bond poster was Fitzgerald All-State Bail Bonds, LLC.

A Lamb Nissan representative said the dealership has resolved the matter among its affected customers since the crime took place.

“This has been a sad incident involving a longtime employee,” Walsh said. “We feel confident that we have uncovered the full extent of the theft. We would like to reinforce that Lamb Nissan has made sure that no customers have suffered a financial loss as a result.”