Ariel Rutenbeck, 32, was taken into custody Wednesday for allegedly altering payroll at Dimmitt Chevrolet in Clearwater, Fla., about 20 miles west of Tampa, according to an arrest affidavit from Clearwater Police Department.
As one of two people with access to the payroll system, the police report alleges Rutenbeck assigned herself $28,179 in unauthorized bonuses between May 2020 and July 2022.
Dimmitt Chevrolet leadership provided payroll documents showing the irregularities and confirmed to police that the bonuses were not approved, according to the report. The company told police that routine audits were not conducted “unless there was suspicious activity observed, which is why this had not been caught before,” the affidavit said.
More recent discrepancies in the payroll were in larger figures, “which were concerning and more noticeable,” the police report said.
Police records show Rutenbeck turned herself in at a local jail and is out on a $5,000 bond. She is charged with grand theft, a second degree felony.
A complaint from the dealership prompted the investigation, which remains open, according to Clearwater Police spokesperson Rob Shaw.
The dealership has been cooperative and helpful throughout the investigation, Shaw said.
“We believe that there was solely one person involved in this and that was the person who was arrested,” Shaw said.