Charges filed in third GarCo clerk’s office theft case
For the third time in four years, an employee of the Garfield County Clerk and Recorder’s Office is charged with stealing public money — in this case, a former employee is accused of taking about $18,000.
The 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office filed charges against Alicia Macias of Silt, who worked in vital records. She was issued a summons to appear in district court.
Macias faces charges of theft between $5,000 and $20,000, a class 5 felony, and embezzlement of public property, also a class 5 felony.
Brenda Caywood, from Glenwood Springs, was arrested in 2012 and later pleaded guilty to allegations she stole nearly $16,000 from the clerk’s office.
Two years later came the office’s biggest embezzlement case, in which Robin McMillan of Rifle was accused of stealing more than $440,000 from the office. McMillan pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
County Clerk Jean Alberico said Thursday that her chief deputy investigated the most recent theft, and they believe Macias was stealing from the office for about four years.
Information filed by the DA lists these crimes as having occurred between 2011 and April 30, 2015.
Macias left work at the clerk and recorder’s office last summer.
Alberico said that in the wake of the prior embezzlement cases, a consultant from CBS Accounting in Grand Junction made several recommendations for tightening internal controls in the office.
It was in the process of tightening those procedures that evidence of this third case of embezzlement was uncovered, she said.
The CBS Accounting consultant’s recommendations included keeping bookkeepers from handling cash, having two employees counting and handling cash and doing random weekly audits of employees. Alberico said her office has enacted all of these recommendations.
The Colorado Department of Revenue also supplied the clerk’s office with a series of audit reports, some of which they carry out monthly, some are done daily.
“I just don’t understand why anyone would do this”, said Alberico, noting that at the time Macias is accused of taking money, she would have known about the other embezzlement cases being prosecuted.
Alberico called the cases heartbreaking, saying they involved employees that she trusted and respected.
Unfortunately, even with the best controls in place, people who want to steal money can get amazingly creative to beat the system, she said.
The county clerk said that the only thing she can do at this point is let people know these crimes won’t be tolerated, and that the county will prosecute the perpetrators to the full extent of the law.
Macias is to appear in district court July 28 on arraignment.
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