Feb 2020 – Recent court filings reveal a check-writing scheme of an office manager working for a dentist who is married to a federal judge.
Teresa Adamos Pereda pleaded guilty to 10 counts of bank fraud. She worked for Dr. Robert Gatewood for 27 years as an office manager for Gatewood’s dental clinic.
Gatewood is married to District Court of Guam Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood.
Pereda’s plea agreement states she’s not an authorized signatory for the clinic’s bank account.
She managed the clinic’s cash, accounts and processed payroll, so she had access to the bank account checkbook as part of her duties.
“During the scheme, (Pereda) diverted money from the company for her own use by writing unauthorized company checks to herself and other associated entities and submitting them to (First Hawaiian Bank) to obtain cash and for subsequent deposits into bank accounts under (her) control,” the plea agreement states.
On many occasions, Pereda wrote unauthorized checks that were pre-signed and lied that the checks would be used to pay the clinic’s bills, according to the plea deal.
She falsified check stubs and falsely recorded transactions in the company’s ledger.
She wrote about 284 fraudulent checks from the clinic’s account in amounts ranging from $300 to $15,000, court documents stated.
She received over $1.1 million from checks she made to herself and other entities associated with her, documents stated. There were multiple checks dated between 2011 and 2019.
Pereda faces a maximum prison sentence of 30 years for each count of bank fraud.
She remains detained and is awaiting sentence.
Tydingco-Gatewood recused herself from the case soon after it was filed.