Dunkin' manager in Largo hired fake employee to pocket wages, police say

She hired a fake employee, clocking the worker in and out for about two months, all while pocketing the paychecks.  

The scheme came to a halt this week when the Pinellas County Dunkin Donuts manager was arrested and charged with grand theft.

The Pinellas Park Police Department says the bogus worker was hired at the Largo store back in May. Somehow the company that owns the location was tipped-off to the scam and started their own investigation. For officers, it was pretty much an open and closed case.

Markia Nelson was arrested Monday morning.

“They met the officer around the corner, showed him all the video that they had, paperwork that they had, timesheets and things like that, and basically presented their case to the officer first,” said Pinellas Park Police Sergeant Lonnie Lancto.

All the evidence focused on one employee. A man who logged 235 hours working at the eatery over seven weeks. The problem was, he only existed on paper.

“The employee never actually showed up to do any work, and when they researched the employee’s clock-in and clock-out times they saw that it was her inputting it each time,” Lancto said.

Investigators say Nelson was also keeping the phony worker’s paychecks. Pocketing $1,610.84 she said she needed for “life expenses.”

Detectives are still looking into the crime, and the 29-year-old could be facing other charges including identity theft for that employee she hired.

“She had the information of who she said quote was a friend of hers, so the information for the person was an actual person,” said Lancto.

So far, Nelson has been charged with grand theft.

According to online court records, it’s a crime she’s been arrested for numerous times before.

FOX 13 News spoke with Nelson Tuesday, and she declined to comment