Carlstrom admitted to making fraudulent payments and starting the fire in an attempt to conceal evidence and confessed she made up the story of being assaulted by an unknown suspect,

A San Jose woman found bound and gagged inside a burning Saratoga office last year was arrested this week on suspicion of arson and stealing more than $600,000 from her employer and various financial institutions.

Janice Carlstrom was tied up and had a broken nose and a cut on the back of her head when firefighters arrived at the burning offices on Nov. 4, 2019, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office said Friday.

At the time, Carlstrom, 74, told authorities that she didn’t know who assaulted her or set the fire. She was taken to a hospital for treatment.

The sheriff’s office began investigating and found that Carlstrom had allegedly stolen more than $44,000 from her employer, Pollack Investments.

More fraud was also discovered that allegedly involved Carlstrom, totaling more than $580,000 from multiple financial institutions, the sheriff’s office said.

The suspect’s thumbprint was reportedly found on a critical piece of evidence involving the arson and the county crime laboratory also confirmed the accelerant that burned several items at the crime scene.

When Carlstrom was interviewed this week by sheriff’s detectives, she admitted making fraudulent payments and setting the fire to conceal evidence, according to the Sheriff’s office. She also confessed to making up a story about being assaulted by an unknown suspect, authorities said.

The investigation is ongoing, the sheriff’s office said. Carlstrom was booked into the Santa Clara County Jail on suspicion of arson, embezzlement and forgery.


William Hiltz BSc MBA CET

Bill Hiltz is the CEO of
Hiltz & Associates
and the creator of
Dental FraudBusters.