FARMINGTON — A local woman faces charges of embezzling more than $14,000 from her employer.
Shannon Strunk, 44, is charged with third-degree felony embezzlement for, authorities say, taking cash from ABC Concrete and two property management companies, Apache Properties and Desert Properties Co., owned by Doug and Waunita Murray.
A preliminary hearing is set for 10 a.m. Thursday.
Strunk is represented by attorney H. Steven Murphy of Farmington.
“We look forward to the evidence against Ms. Strunk and getting this matter resolved as quickly as possible,” he said.
The Murrays notified the San Juan County Sheriff's Office on Sept. 21 that they believed Strunk was taking cash from the cash drawer. An internal audit showed 23 deposits were compromised, with an estimated $14,127 missing.
Doug Murray said Tuesday that further auditing has discovered more money missing since then, but he could not specify the exact figure.
Strunk was hired in January as a secretary to receive payments and provide other clerical services, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Strunk was interviewed by a sheriff's detective Oct. 13. Detective Katie Macsalka told Strunk more than $13,000 was missing. Strunk replied, “Wow, that's a lot of money,” according to the affidavit.
Strunk asked if there was any way she could sign a contract with the Murrays to repay the missing money. Macsalka told her it was a criminal matter.
Doug Murray said they hired Strunk even though she previously worked for New Mexico Title Co., a local business that collapsed in January amid complaints of missing funds.
Murray said Strunk handled escrow accounts at New Mexico Title.
“We had 18, 19 escrows over there that she handled for us,” he said.
The embezzlement charge against Strunk deals only with alleged thefts from the Murrays' companies. She has not been accused of wrongdoing in connection with the troubles at New Mexico Title.
An attorney for Bobby Willis, the former owner of New Mexico Title, said in a February court filing that Strunk worked for New Mexico Title for six years. The attorney, John W. Day, said Strunk “seriously mismanaged the business” and failed to reconcile accounts for two years.
She left abruptly on or around Dec. 27, 2011, Day said.