Saratoga: Bookkeeper charged with embezzlement, arson

SAN JOSE – A 74-year-old San Jose woman has been charged with
stealing more than $1 million from her employer, as well as staging
a fire and an assault on herself to cover up the crimes,
prosecutors said.

Janice Carlstrom was scheduled to be arraigned Monday on charges
of arson, grand theft, workers’ compensation fraud and filing a
false police report, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s
Office said in a news release. If convicted, she faces up to 12
years and four months in prison.

“My office is committed to hold accountable embezzlers who
abuse their positions of trust,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen
said in a statement.

Carlstrom worked as a bookkeeper at Pollack Investments on Big
Basin Way in Saratoga for several decades. Prosecutors said she
embezzled and stole the money from 2014 to 2019 – she allegedly
issued checks from the investment firm to pay off her personal
credit cards, her personal home loan accounts and her son’s home
loan accounts.

When confronted with accounting irregularities, Carlstrom
falsified injuries and set fire to her office suite on the morning
of Nov. 4, 2019, prosecutors said. The Santa Clara County
Sheriff’s Office said she told detectives she had been
accosted by unknown invaders
, who duct-taped her eyes and mouth
closed before setting the fire.

Soon after being released from the hospital, Carlstrom filed for
workers’ compensation injury benefits, prosecutors said.

The sheriff’s office at the time immediately classified the
case as a suspicious circumstance rather than an assault or
kidnapping, and quickly ruled out any public threat.

Detectives went on to collect evidence indicating Carlstrom was
embezzling money from her employer, the sheriff’s office said. In
an interview with detectives, Carlstrom reportedly admitted to the
scheme.

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Carlstrom’s injuries, which included a broken nose, were
self-inflicted, prosecutors said. Evidence also reportedly showed
Carlstrom herself had used an accelerant to light the blaze.

Source: FS – All – Interesting – News 2
Saratoga: Bookkeeper charged with embezzlement,
arson