Former AVLT bookkeeper charged with embezzlement
The ex-Aspen Valley Land Trust bookkeeper charged with embezzling $100,000 from her former employer was formally advised of her charges on Wednesday. Carman T. Andrews, 34, of Missouri Heights is accused of using her position as bookkeeper of the land trust to steal from that organization.Prosecutor Lawson Wills said she is suspected of embezzling $105,000 from the organization.Andrews appeared before 9th District Magistrate Daniel Petrie shortly after 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. She was represented by Basalt attorney Dan Ship. Carbondale police arrested Andrews on May 19. On Wednesday, she was charged with three counts of felony theft. She could face up to 24 years in prison.Wills said it’s possible his office and Andrews could reach a plea agreement by her next court date on Aug. 19, but not likely. “We’ll talk and maybe we can reach a deal, but this is a big situation,” Wills said. Aspen Valley Land Trust acquires land and conservation easements, which in turn prohibit development throughout the Roaring Fork Valley and, recently, in the Colorado River Valley. It’s the oldest and one of the largest conservancies in Colorado.It’s participated in several high-profile projects around Aspen, such as brokering deals that helped keep the Independence ghost town in public hands, as well as the Ryan parcel near Ashcroft.Martha Cochran, AVLT executive director, told the Aspen Times that her organization discovered the alleged embezzlement on April 15. It appears activities were taking place “for about a year, in varying degrees of severity,” she said. Cochran told the Times that she suspects a fake bank account was created, checks were forged and unauthorized electronic transfers were made. Cochran claimed that a stamp of her signature was created without her knowledge.No other employees were implicated.Andrews’ next court date will be in front of 9th District Judge T. Peter Craven. – The Aspen Times contributed to this report.Contact Greg Massé: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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