Two women facing charges after stealing around $1M from Zirkle F - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Two women facing charges after stealing around $1M from Zirkle Fruit Company

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SELAH, WA - Two women are accused of stealing close to one million dollars from Zirkle Fruit Company through fraud.

The two women responsible are Norma Garza and Maria Teresa Galarza. They both worked for Zirkle Fruit at the Paterson branch. At work, one of their responsibilities was payroll. Zirkle says they were able to steal money through phantom employees; a person whose name is submitted to payroll and who received wages, but never did any work.

Court documents say the two women got caught last November, when a Finley ranch manager received ten checks for people who weren't employed.

The names on the checks belonged to family and friends of the women. A few of them had the same last name - Prado. Another, the name of Garza's daughter, who was no longer employed with the company.

What shocked the manager even more was the fact that Garza called him about the checks during memorial services for her son's death.

Garza is facing 4 counts of forgery and leading an organized crime. Meanwhile, Galarza is facing 5 counts of forgery and identity theft in the first degree. All others involved are also facing charges of fraud.

We reached out to Zirkle Fruit and they say they've implemented new controls so this doesn't happen again.