Published: Mar 26, 2013 3:53 PM EDT
Updated: Mar 26, 2013 3:57 PM EDT

BOCA GRANDE, Fla.- The Lee County Sheriff's Office says a longtime office manager of a Boca Grande business faces embezzlement charges after a surprise birthday party for her boss backfired into a paper trail of fraudulent transactions.

The say 46-year-old Ruth Amen, of 372 Baily Street, was arrested Monday night. 

Amen was the former office manager for Gulf to Bay Realty, a position she held for more than ten years. As office manager, Amen was solely responsible for handling business finances including billing and payroll.

The sheriff's department says it was Amen's decision to pay for a surprise birthday for one of her bosses, without permission, that brought the issue to light.  Following that incident, company officials looked at her bookkeeping practices more closely and discovered problems.

An investigation revealed that Amen had stolen $181,674 from the business. The investigation revealed Amen used nearly $92,000 in company finances to pay personal credit card debt, issued herself "extra" paychecks totaling $65,000, and failed to deduct the cost of insurance from her paychecks.

Amen is charged with Grand Theft and Scheme to Defraud, both first degree felonies.