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Lake County woman charged with embezzling from Napa winery

A Lake County woman is charged with embezzling more than $340,000 from a Napa County winery where she worked as an accounting clerk, a prosecutor said Friday.

Xandria Roxanne Neal, 44, of Hidden Valley Lake, is accused of stealing the money from St. Helena's Rutherford Wine Company, where she had been an employee since 2009.

Neal is alleged to have used company credit cards to buy personal items such as iPads and to finance vacations in a period spanning September 2011 to January of this year.

"It's a sad situation," said Jim Cahill, the company's general manager of domestic operations.

She was arrested Wednesday after company officials discovered the theft, Napa County Deputy District Attorney Holly Quate said.

Neal pleaded not guilty Thursday to 29 counts of grand theft by embezzlement. She faces more than 23 years in prison if convicted, Quate said.

She remains in jail in lieu of $50,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 16.

Her court-appointed lawyer did not return calls Friday.

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