BRENTWOOD, Calif. (KTVU) - A 28 year-old woman who victims say made a living off of check fraud and embezzlement could finally be facing significant jail time after avoiding serious consequences for years. The Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office has now charged Sarah Cariglio with 51 counts of fraud, embezzlement, identity theft and auto theft involving at least 14 victims in the East Bay.
The same woman has also used the last names of Garcia and Kinney. Former in-laws even contacted KTVU to dispute her continued use of the Cariglio name.
A Good First Impression
Kevin Musante says he first met Sarah Cariglio after she responded to his Craigslist post seeking an office assistant for his business, World of Sound and Vision, in Alamo.
"She was very smart, educated, she knew what she was doing," said Musante.
Despite the good first impression, Musante says Cariglio was only on the job for four days.
"After the fourth day, she said her dad was sick or had some medical problems. He was in the hospital, she needed to go spend time with him, needed a day off. No problem," said Musante.
While he would never see Cariglio around the office again, she was far from out of his life.
"I was online doing some banking, I noticed some checks that didn't look right," said Musante.
Musante says Cariglio had stolen business checks and forged his signature, making out two of them to herself and a third to her landlord for $7,200. Records also show Cariglio purchased three vehicles using the name and tax identification number of Musante's company. On a credit application with a dealership, Cariglio listed herself as the CFO.
"She made up numbers of what our income was, said she'd been there for years. She said we were going through a divorce and we were married," said Musante.
Featured on Dr. Phil
Musante didn't know that months before he ever met Sarah Cariglio, she appeared on the nationally syndicated Dr. Phil Show at the urging of family members who confronted her with similar accusations of lying and stealing.
"You don't even know what it took to come here," said a tearful Cariglio during the show which first aired in October 2014.
During the same program, Cariglio appeared to admit to some accusations similar to charges in the current criminal complaint against her.
"I'm very impulsive. When I want to do something, I want to do it, whether it means lying to somebody, bouncing a check, hurting people," said Cariglio.
Despite pledging to change her ways, alleged victims say Cariglio continued committing financial crimes after appearing on the show.
"A Smooth Talker"
Mel Nazzal says Sarah Cariglio walked into his furniture store in Antioch in September 2014, looking to buy something right away. Nazzal concedes he made a mistake by agreeing to accept a personal check for more than $3,000 for a sectional and sofa.
"She was very convincing! Very convincing that 'my dad has all this money and I can have whatever I want,' that she was a very spoiled young girl," said Nazzal. "A very smooth talker."
The check bounced and despite a series of text messages promising to come back to the store and pay, Nazzal says he never got his money or his furniture returned to him.
"I think she's enjoying what she's doing. I really do. It sounds crazy... I think she gets a kick out of what she does. And the sad part is, we're a small business. We work very hard for what we earn here," said Nazzal.
Several other alleged victims contacted 2 Investigates over the last six months. Many asking the same question.
"You just wonder, why is this person not in jail?" asked Musante.
In June, the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office amended its criminal complaint against Cariglio, alleging 51 counts of check fraud, identity theft, embezzlement and other charges for financial crimes worth more than $300,000. Prosecutors added a "white collar crime enhancement" for losses totaling more than $100,000.
"The biggest concern we have at this point is there are more victims who haven't come forward or don't know how to come forward," said Deputy District Attorney, Devon Bell. "Based on our investigation, there will be more people who have been defrauded by Ms. Cariglio. So, our goal is to truly identify those people and make sure they can also seek justice from her ."
As for why it's taken so long to hold Cariglio accountable?
"There are some people who believe financial crimes are not as serious as violent crimes. In this case, I think Ms. Cariglio has done as much damage as a violent criminal has," said Bell. "So, it's time for the public and the justice system to take notice of Ms. Cariglio."
KTVU's Eric Rasmussen caught up with Cariglio as she was walking into court to face the new charges and asked if she had anything to say to those she's accused of ripping off.
"No comment," said Cariglio.
She was taken into custody during the court hearing and is being held on $1.1 million bail.