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Between 1998 and 2010 Carmen and her sister-in-law Lina Santos engaged in a long slow water torture drip of embezzlement from the real estate law firm of their employer Robert Smylie - to the ultimate tune of an astonishing $5.771,371.49. The family paid back $420,000 leaving an outstanding theft of $5.3 million. When Robert Smylie started his real estate law firm in 1992 he brought Carmen along from a previous business to serve as his office manager while her sister-in-law Lina Santos worked as his bookkeeper. Robert’s trust in Carmen was so complete he made the fatal error of giving her check-writing power and trusting her accounting. From the LA Times “Santos falsified the books so that the payments looked as if they were legitimate recurring expenses, such as insurance. Salindong reviewed the books before handing them over to Smylie, who has no bookkeeping skills and trusted the women. The firm's accountants never caught on to the scheme, Smylie said.” Treating Smylie’s money as their own personal bank, they racked up debt and paid off a total of 39 credit cards, used by the two of them and extended family members. They bought expensive homes and cars, threw extravagant parties for their children, took trips around the world and sent their kids to private school while Smylie was forced to send his kids to public schools.