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Press Release

Manager of Insurance Broker Pleads Guilty In Seven-Year Embezzlement Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of California

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – August 19, 2019

SAN DIEGO – A Ramona woman, who for ten years worked as the operations manager for a San Diego-based insurance broker, admitted today to participating in a scheme to defraud her employer of over $700,000. The scheme lasted over seven years and involved hundreds of fraudulent checks written to herself and a family member.

During a hearing this morning before U.S. District Judge Thomas J. Whelan, the defendant, Antonia Barber, pleaded guilty to one felony count of Wire Fraud.

According to her plea agreement, Barber, 51, worked as the operations manager for a local insurance brokerage firm from 2005 until June 2015. In that job, she had significant discretion over the finances of the company, and was responsible for approving expense reimbursement requests. Abusing her position, she caused hundreds of checks to be written by the company to a family member, purportedly for “records management,” when in fact such services were not provided. Additionally, she caused hundreds of checks to be written by the company to herself personally, purportedly for expense reimbursements – expenses which in fact she had not incurred. The defendant admitted that the total loss in connection with these fraudulent checks was approximately $726,000 over the course of the seven-year scheme.

“The business owners in our community have a right to the honest services of their employees,” said United States Attorney Robert S. Brewer, Jr.  “Stealing from your employer, whether done in a subtle manner over a period years or a brazen way, results in a negative hit to the bottom line that impacts competitiveness.  It will not be tolerated.”  “I also want to commend the Secret Service for their excellent investigation and AUSA Robert Huie for his leadership and tenacity during this investigation,” Brewer said.   

“The U.S. Secret Service is committed to protecting our nation’s financial infrastructure, which includes stopping fraudulent activities like this wire and check fraud,” said Special Agent in Charge James E. Anderson Jr., of the U.S. Secret Service San Diego Field Office.  “The Secret Service San Diego Field Office will continue to investigate individuals who utilize and take advantage of their position in an effort to defraud their employer.”

Barber is scheduled to be sentenced on December 9, 2019 at 9:00 a.m., before Judge Whelan.

DEFENDANT                       Case Number 18-CR-4028-W

Antonia Barber                       Ramona, CA               Age: 51


Wire Fraud – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1343

Maximum penalty: 20 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine (or twice the pecuniary gain or loss), restitution and forfeiture.


U.S. Secret Service


Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert S. Huie (619) 546-7053

Updated August 19, 2019

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: CAS19-0819-Barber