Tiffany Ann (Trout) Rothkehl, 26, of Modesto and her sister Hilliary Lynn Trout, 23, of Delhi, are each charged with embezzlement, falsified/destroyed corporate books and conspiracy for allegedly stealing the money while employees at Dhillon Hospitality Management Inc., 2160 W. Grant Line Road.
Judge Ron Northup continued the women’s arraignment to 8:30 a.m. Sept. 13 in the Manteca branch of San Joaquin County Superior Court.
According to Rothkehl’s court-appointed attorney, Robert Remlinger, his client could enter a plea with the court during the next hearing.
“The possibility of something could happen at the next hearing … it’s, I think it’s certainly within the realm of possibility,” he said.
Remlinger, who was appointed to represent Rothkehl during an arraignment July 9, said during a phone interview after court that he needed to review evidence and that he also wanted time to talk to his client about the charges she faces.
John Casenave, who was appointed to represent Trout during the July 9 hearing, was unavailable for comment Monday.
During the arraignment, the defense attorneys and the prosecutor met with the judge in his chambers while the two sisters remained in the courtroom. They appeared in court free on bail.
After the hearing, Deputy District Attorney Stephen Taylor would not discuss specifics about the meeting in chambers, but he said the defendants’ attorneys had raised some questions about the charges against each of their clients.
According to court documents, Rothkehl was hired by Dhillon in February 2009 as a clerk and later became the company’s office manager. Trout was hired in July 2009 to work with her sister as the bookkeeper-accountant.
Rothkehl wrote numerous company checks and opened a Costco American Express card in the company’s name, with which the pair charged more than $10,000 to the company’s bank account, court documents state.
On April 4, 2011, both women were reportedly wiped out the company’s computer files and shredded accounting records before leaving for lunch and never returning, according to court records.
Outside the courtroom, Taylor said that hiring relatives or best friends in accounting-related positions provides no checks to make sure the financial books are balanced.
He said Dhillon Hospitality was not insured and that the alleged actions of the sisters resulted in the Tracy-based business closing and six people losing their jobs.
The company’s owner calculated the estimated loss, according to court documents.
“I hate to see this happen,” Taylor said. “We need to protect small businesses. The person making the checks should not be the one doing the (financial accounts) reconciliation.”
• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo 830-4225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.