Third ex-employee admits embezzling from the county

Ryan Summerlin

Pleading guilty Thursday to felony embezzlement of public property, Alicia Macias is the third former Garfield County clerk’s office employee to plead guilty to such charges in recent years.

Macias, who worked in vital records, was charged in June and accused of embezzling about $18,000 from 2011 to 2015.

She pleaded guilty to class 5 felony embezzlement, while another count of felony theft (between $5,000 and $20,000) was dismissed.

The normal range on the embezzlement charge is one to three years in prison with two years of mandatory parole and fines from $1,000 to $100,000, said Judge John Neiley.

The judge noted that this plea deal does not bind him to a sentence without jail time. However, if he did sentence her to prison, the judge would also have to give the defendant an opportunity to withdraw her guilty plea.

With this guilty plea, the prosecution recommended a sentence of probation rather than any jail time, and restitution of $16,178, which she would be required to pay back at $125 per month.

Her sentencing hearing will be June 8, before which she will undergo a pre-sentence investigation.

In 2012, Brenda Caywood was another clerk’s office employee who was arrested and eventually pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $16,000 from the office.

Two years later, Robin McMillan of Rifle was accused of stealing more than $440,000 from the clerk’s office. She pleaded guilty to charges of theft between $20,000 and $100,000 and filing a false tax return, both felonies, and was sentenced to nine years in prison.

After these first two cases, County Clerk Jean Alberico brought in an accounting consultant, who recommended measures for tightening the office’s internal controls. That process eventually uncovered embezzlement by Macias, who had left the clerk and recorder’s office in the summer of 2015.

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