A former office manager with a Menlo Park landscaping company pleaded not guilty Friday to embezzling more than $1 million from her employer over two years, prosecutors said today. Shannon Cardenas, 39, is charged with embezzlement, identity theft and fraud and remains in custody on $500,000 bail, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office. The alleged embezzlement came to light after she abruptly resigned from her position at Creekside Landscaping Inc. in March. When the company took over her responsibilities for payroll and bill payments, employees discovered she had used company checks to pay herself overtime and bonuses and used company credit cards to purchase personal items such as trips, vehicles and other expenses. In all, she stole more than $1 million from the company that way, prosecutors said. She was arrested Thursday at a different job in Redwood City after Menlo Park police investigators obtained a warrant for her arrest and to search her residence. She appeared in court Friday and pleaded not guilty to the charges. She is set to return to court on Aug. 6 for a preliminary hearing, prosecutors said.
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