Suspect allegedly used debit card to purchase fast food, hotel rooms

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FARMINGTON — A Farmington woman is accused of 58 felony charges for allegedly embezzling about $2,900 from a local nonprofit drug recovery organization and spending the money at fast food restaurants and on lodging.

The woman, 46, is accused of 58 fourth-degree felony counts of unlawful withdrawal from a financial institution, according to court records. The Farmington Daily Times does not identify members of anonymous drug and alcohol recovery groups.

She is accused of using a debit card to spend more than $2,900 of the nonprofit's funds on expenses, including fast food, motel rooms, groceries, and cash withdrawals from ATMs, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

Nicholas Cullander, her attorney, could not be reached for comment Friday.

A Farmington Police Department Community Service Officer was dispatched to the Farmington police headquarters on reports of embezzlement on Feb. 22.

A detective continued the investigation and spoke to a Narcotics Anonymous volunteer on two separate occasions.

The volunteer told the detective the suspect was given a debit card to purchase literature for the local chapter of the nonprofit organization and make a yearly reservation at a state park, according to court documents.

She was an officer for the nonprofit. She allegedly embezzled the funds using the debit card between Dec. 12, 2016, and Sept. 6, 2018.

A new officer was selected to fill her position after the suspect failed to attend meetings. It was the new official who found the alleged embezzlement after reviewing bank statements.

The 58 charges including ATM cash withdrawals along with purchases at grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants including McDonald's, Subway and Chick Fil-A and for motel/hotel rooms in Flagstaff, Arizona, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Pasadena, California.

She has been booked and released from the San Juan County Adult Detention Center per a court order.

Her preliminary hearing is set for March 20 in Farmington Magistrate Court.

The Rio Grande Region of Narcotics Anonymous describes itself online as a "non-profit, non-professional fellowship of addicts helping addicts. It costs nothing to belong." Their website may be found at https://riograndena.org/.

 

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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