Published: Jan 23, 2013 11:50 AM EST
Updated: Jan 23, 2013 2:00 PM EST

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- A trusted employee, who had worked her way up to office manager for a group of local car dealerships, is charged with embezzling more than $250,000. Ashley Coffey was arrested Saturday at her mother’s house in Tice.

An investigation by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Economic Crimes Unit reveals that over a period from October 2, 2008 until April 9, 2012, 24-year-old Coffey used her position as office manager for Sonic Automotive (doing business as Volkswagen of Fort Myers, BMW of Fort Myers, Mercedes Benz of Fort Myers and Honda of Fort Myers) to embezzle $256,482.

Coffey would systematically look up old customer numbers in the computer and overwrite the information. The investigation shows Coffey would then generate bogus extended warranty cancellations and cut refund checks in her name. Needing a second signature on the checks, Coffey then forged the signatures of other office managers and deposited the checks into her personal account via ATM’s.

In early 2012, Coffey becamse suspicious. She left the office for a lunch break at approximately 11:15 a.m. one day, and never returned.

Coffey wass charged with First Degree Grand Theft.