Former Yuma Visitor Bureau employee suspected of fraud and theft

Former Yuma Visitor Bureau employee suspected of fraud and theft

YUMA, Ariz. – A man is being investigated by the Yuma Police Department for allegedly transferring money from the Yuma Visitor Bureau (YVB) business account to his personal account.

Officers said Fernando Zacarias was arrested  June 9 but later released. YPD said they are investigating the case and gathering evidence to present to the state attorney’s office. Zacarias could potentially be formally charged with fraudulent scheme and theft.

Zacarias is a former YVB employee who had been terminated before his arrest for unrelated reasons, according to YVB.

YVB released a statement about the incident on Wednesday. It stated, “YVB contacted YPD  and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to report a misappropriation of YVB funds, with evidence that the activity was performed by an employee of YVB. For reasons unrelated, the employee in question had already been terminated from YVB. Yuma Visitors Bureau is fully cooperating with law enforcement to investigate this matter.”

The statement then went on to say, “YVB staff and its board of directors are deeply disappointed with these findings; however, the entire organization remain committed to excellence. YVB will continue to promote Yuma as a premier destination by spreading the word of its wonderful diversity and rich history.”

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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