Silt couple accused of up to $1M embezzlement — and cattle rustling
The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a Silt couple after an eight-month investigation into embezzlement and livestock theft at Bear Wallow Ranch near Glenwood Springs.
Bear Wallow Ranch, a property up Canyon Creek, is principally owned by the CEO of Waffle House Inc., Joe Rogers Jr., and his wife.
Charles Zane Farris, 53, and Charla Farris, 51, were arrested Tuesday. Both had been working on the ranch for more than 25 years.
As of the writing of the arrest warrant, the total amount in money and assets authorities allege the couple had stolen from 2012 to 2016 was more than $500,000. But that figure “does not include documented thefts as far back as the early 2000s” and it doesn’t include potentially stolen horses and cattle, according to the arrest report.
“The contention is that the (Farrises) have stolen in excess of ($1 million) during the course of their employment with Bear Wallow Ranch,” a sheriff’s investigator wrote in an arrest affidavit.
Each was arrested on felony charges of theft between $100,000 and $1 million, filing a false tax return, computer crime between $5,000 and $20,000 and computer crime between $2,000 and $5,000. Their arresting charges also included misdemeanors of failure to file a return or pay tax, and computer crime between $750 and $2,000.
Their arrest warrants listed bonds at $50,000 each. They was not listed Wednesday morning as inmates at the Garfield County jail.
After eight months of investigating, authorities conducted a warranted search of the couple’s residence south of Silt.
Law enforcement had received allegations of theft, embezzlement of money, livestock and farm and ranch equipment from Bear Wallow, according to a sheriff’s press release.
“The investigation yielded information that the alleged thefts have taken place over the course of many years and have reached into the hundreds of thousands of dollars,” according to the sheriff’s office.
Also involved in this operation was the FBI’s Glenwood Springs office and brand inspectors based in Rifle and Meeker.