San Joaquin County
District Attorney's Office
OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY 222 E. Weber Ave., Room 202, Stockton, CA
P. O. Box 990, Stockton, CA 95201
T (209) 468-2400 | F (209) 465-0371
TORI VERBER SALAZAR District Attorney Scott A. Fichtner Assistant District Attorney Kristine M. Reed Assistant District Attorney James Bojko Chief Investigator
News from the Office of District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar
For Immediate Release
May 23, 2017
CONTACT: Stephen E. Taylor, Deputy District Attorney
T: (209) 468-2419 | E: stephen.taylor@sjcda.org

History of Embezzlement and ID Theft Ends in Jail Time for Ripon Woman

May 22, 2017, in Superior Court for Stockton California Judge Carter Holly sentenced 49-year-old Catherine McMurry Blewett to the upper term of three years in state prison for felony violation of Penal Code ยง529, False Impersonation of Another. Blewett was previously arraigned on Felony Charges of ID Theft, and related other charges in Lodi on April 17, 2017. A guilty plea on the Felony False Impersonation Charge was taken in Lodi and the case was continued for sentencing in Stockton.

Mrs. Blewett was the HR Manager of Lodi's RPM Company, a real estate management firm. She applied for the position of Human Resources Manager with RPM July of 2013 using a misspelled version of her maiden name and a stolen Social Security number belonging to a stranger in the Bay Area.

By doing so she successfully evaded background checks that would have revealed that she was twice before convicted of Embezzlement, once from 1999-2003 where she worked for Zomax Company of Fremont, CA, as a payroll clerk stealing $575,639.85 through payroll fraud. She was sent to federal prison on a felony conviction for that case. While out of custody awaiting sentencing for the Zomax embezzlement she was hired as a Human Resources Manager for a Tracy, CA, firm, Pacific Coast Industries. In July 2007, she began stealing - also through payroll fraud - using the name of Cathy Owens (which she was formerly known as). The 41 paychecks she fraudulently issued to herself under the name Cathy Owens totaled $57,733.83. Beyond these large thefts there were other misdemeanor theft & forgery related convictions in Hayward in 1988 and in Tracy in 1997.

Mrs. Blewett left her job at RPM December 2016 taking a company computer with her. She was arrested at her next job as HR Manager of a firm in Ripon, CA, on these charges in April 2017.

In this instance, the crime of False Personation of Another created 4 years of incorrect income tax reporting at RPM where Mrs. Blewett's income was reported by the employer against the social security number of the victim who was the true owner of that number. When the discovery of the false number was made, the company was required to correct four years of payroll tax reporting to state and federal governments at a cost of $1800 in additional fees from the payroll service company they engage.

Judge Holly ordered restitution to RPM Company in the amount of $18,102.00 in all for their out of pocket expenses to examine, verify and correct what was done during Blewett's tenure. Restitution to the owner of the social security number used was reserved by the court pending claims. Mrs. Blewett's state prison sentence is to be served in the San Joaquin County Jail pursuant to California's Prison/Jail Realignment law. She will serve two years of her sentence and serve the year remaining on supervised release thereafter. She was represented by Attorney Mark Sollitt of Elk Grove, CA.

District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar states that her office takes seriously criminal acts that threaten local businesses and the jobs they provide for our community. This case is illustrative of the close work her office does with the local police agencies, CPAs and Attorneys. Our goals are to be responsive to problems, ensure justice is swift and fair, and to protect the local community and jobs from criminal behavior.

This case was brought by Forensic Certified Public Accountant Steven Hoslett of Stockton/San Diego and by the Lodi Police Department, whose detective division confronted Blewett with the CPA reports and recovered the missing company computer & and other evidence from Blewett's residence in Manteca. Ripon Police Department arrested Mrs. Blewett at her current job in Ripon.

The District Attorney's Office urges local businesses to carefully examine documentation of identity and social security numbers before using information merely stated by an individual to file payroll tax returns, checking exact name and spelling as well as other data pertaining to the hire. Without correct and exact identification, proper reference and background verification cannot occur.

Please call Deputy District Attorney Stephen E Taylor at 209-468-2419 with any questions.