Saleswoman accused of stealing from Saks

June 19, 2008 12:59:55 PM PDT
A department store saleswoman is accused of passing along more than $1 million in refunds to her most valued customers so she could rack up big sales bonuses for herself. Cecile Villacorta is charged with grand larceny, forgery and falsifying business records, and faces 25 years in prison, if convicted.

Villacorta reportedly was a top-grossing sales associate at Saks Fifth Avenue's flagship store in Manhattan who sold more than $27 million in fine jewelry between 2000 and 2006.

During that period, prosecutors charge, she promised customers credit refunds on purchases that were not returned so she could earn the big commissions that come with big sales.

According to court papers, she earned thousands of dollars in commissions using the tactic.

Her lawyer, Chad Seigel, told The New York Times that Villacorta simply resorted to an industry practice that rewards its most valued customers with deep price breaks.