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Auto dealer’s ex-office manager charged with grand theft

By Staff | Feb 1, 2013

Ashley Coffey

A trusted employee that had worked her way up to office manager for a group of local car dealerships is charged with embezzling more than a quarter of a million dollars. Ashley Coffey, 24, was arrested Saturday at her mother’s house in Tice.

An investigation by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office economic crimes unit reveals that over a period from Oct. 2, 2008, until April 9, 2012, Coffey used her position as office manager for Sonic Automotive (doing business as Volkswagen of Fort Myers, BMW of Fort Myers, Mercedes Benz of Fort Myers and Honda of Fort Myers) to embezzle $256,482.

Coffey, a resident of Downer Avenue South in Lehigh Acres, systematically would look up old customer numbers in the computer and overwrite the information. The investigation shows Coffey then generated bogus extended warranty cancellations and cut refund checks in her name. Needing a second signature on the checks, Coffey forged the signatures of other office managers and deposited the checks into her personal account via ATMs.

In early 2012, Coffey knew the heat was on. One day she left the office for a lunch break at approximately 11:15 a.m. and never returned.

Coffey (DOB 5-28-88) is charged with first degree grand theft.