BY SAM PAZZANO, TORONTO SUN
A Richmond Hill woman accused of fleecing her employer out of almost $5.5 million before bolting to Europe for months of lavish living has admitted her guilt.
Natalia Pouchkina pleaded guilty Friday in a Newmarket courthouse to fraud over $5,000.
The 55-year-old senior manager for Crane Payment Solutions in Vaughan allegedly diverted money from her employer between March 2014 and May 2015.
She was arrested on Sept. 15 by Spanish police outside the posh resort city of Malaga.
“She was living a lavish lifestyle way beyond her means as a manager,” said York Regional Police Det. Fred Kerr, one of two officers who escorted Pouchkina home from Madrid.
The divorced mother allegedly doled out cash and expensive gifts, buying herself a $140,000 Mercedes and another for her Quebec university student daughter, sources told the Toronto Sun.
Pouchkina waived extradition proceedings in October because she couldn’t bear the Spanish jail diet of beans and rice. In December, she lost her bid for freedom at an unsuccessful bail hearing.
Her former employer hired prominent Toronto law and accounting firms plus a respected private investigation agency to track its missing cash.
European courts have frozen Pouchkina’s property, cars and bank accounts. Her banking documents have been turned over to European lawyers working on behalf of the Toronto law firm, sources said.
An agreed statement of facts is expected to be read in court on April 4 at her sentencing hearing.